Two-time defending ABC Supply 500 winner Will Power put himself in prime position for a third after qualifying on pole for Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway. Power took his No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevy to a two-lap average of 219.511 MPH. Teammate and defending series champion Josef Newgarden will start second at 218.802 MPH.
With his pole, Power tied A.J. Foyt for second all-time at 53. The 2014 series champ sits 14 poles behind all-time leader Mario Andretti. About tying ‘Super Tex,’ Power said, “That sounds very cool. I never thought I would be up in that sort of company…I wouldn’t have expected that when I started my career.”
Power took advantage of setup differences and a faster opening lap. “I trimmed out a bit more (than Josef) …the car was handling reasonably well,” said Power. “Big first lap … we just nailed the gear and everything for that run.”
Newgarden tied his best career start at Pocono with the outside pole and was positive with how everything went. “We had a good run…I was happy with my two laps,” said Newgarden. “A one-two for Team Penske you can’t be mad about that…now, we just work on our race car to see what we can do for 500 miles.”
While the Penske’s stood tall in qualifying, Honda had shown the pace during opening practice with seven of the top 10 drivers. Mid-Ohio winner Alexander Rossi led the Honda brigade in third with a two-lap average of 218.758 MPH in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts car for Andretti Autosport.
Teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach qualified fourth and seventh respectively split by Penske’s Simon Pagenaud and Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports rookie Robert Wickens. The top ten was rounded out by Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe, and Takuma Sato.
Coming off signing an extension with Chip Ganassi Racing, points leader Scott Dixon will have work to do from fourteenth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. Other notables include local hero Marco Andretti (11th), Indianapolis 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter (15th), Graham Rahal (18th) and last-second call-up Conor Daly starting shotgun on the field.
Final practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series (weather permitting) will be at 4:45 PM. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for all the news from The Tricky Triangle.
Image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.