Will Power topped the time charts in qualifying to claim his 47th career Verizon IndyCar Series pole for the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He bested three Team Penske teammates and two Hondas to reset his previously recorded track record by nearly a whole second with a new time of 1:07.7044.
The Firestone Fast 6 featured the four Team Penske entries of Power, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Juan Pablo Montoya along with the Honda-powered machines of Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais. All competitors in the session recorded times below the previously recorded track record, all times within the 1:08.39 mark.
Castroneves took chances early in Rounds 2 and 3 to start on the Firestone alternate compound, but was 0.4125 too short in the final moments of qualifying. A pit lane violation and penalty served in Round 2 didn’t help his chances, but a front-row starting position will give him an advantage tomorrow.
Starting third in tomorrow’s race, Newgarden led his group in Round 1 of qualifying. In the previous three years of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Newgarden has not finished better than 17th.
First of the Hondas, Dixon will start his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 on the second row alongside Newgarden. He referenced out-driving the road course deficiencies in the Honda kit despite a strong start for the manufacturer in 2017.
With a combined experienced in top-level open wheel racing totaling over 22 years, Montoya and Bourdais will start on the third row. Montoya starts tomorrow’s event 6 month removed from the last competitive experience in an Indy car. With no pressure to have a good points finish weighing on him, Montoya looks forward to competing for the win tomorrow. Bourdais betters his highest Indianapolis Grand Prix starting position in the, by a position to start sixth.
Before the final round of qualifying, the Fast 12 kicked off with three drivers starting on the alternate compound. Marco Andretti and Montoya followed Castroneves’ decision to start on the faster tires, but they had nothing for Power. Power beat his previously recorded qualifying track record on his way to top the session ahead of teammates, Montoya, Castroneves and Newgarden. The session could have gone to the Captain’s Crew as all five Penske entries were scored first through fifth before being crashed by Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais. The two Hondas bumped Pagenaud out of the top 6, who said they had missed getting acquainted with the alternate compound.