Simon Pagenaud snatches pole at Fontana
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud has secured his maiden pole position as a Team Penske driver after topping the single-car qualifying runs for the MAVTV 500 at Fontana.
Pagenaud scorched around the D-shaped superspeedway to finish with a two-lap qualifying average of 218.95mph (352.36km/h).
Helio Castroneves sealed the front row for Penske after he punched out almost two identical laps to finish with an average of 218.73 (352.01).
Marco Andretti was the fastest Honda driver, after qualifying in third with an average of 217.79 (349.49).
Pagenaud, who is 10th in the championship standings, expressed surprise at his qualifying pace at the southern Californian venue.
“The Penske Chevy Truck Rental Car has been amazing in traffic,” Pagenaud, who was the third car in the field to start his qualifying run,” said.
“(but) We didn’t do any practice on a qualifying run so this was a surprise.”
Ed Carpenter confirmed the form reversal for the CFH Racing operation by qualifying in fourth ahead of series points leader Juan Montoya.
Team-mates Tony Kanaan and Scot Dixon are out of sixth and seventh ahead of Will Power.
Defending series champion Power complained of a lot of understeer in his Chevy after establishing the quickest warm-up lap speed ahead of his two timed qualifying laps.
“A lot of push. I couldn’t do much there,” Power said.
“I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow and we’ll have a good look at it tonight.”
Takuma Sato and Sage Karam were ninth and 10th while Ryan Briscoe, substituting for James Hinchcliffe in the #5 Schmidt Peterson machine, will start from 16th.
See below for full qualifying results
|Pos.||Car||Driver||Manufacturer||Total Time||Two-Lap Avg. Speed|
|1||22||Simon Pagenaud||Chevrolet||1:05.7679||218.952 MPH|
|2||3||Helio Castroneves||Chevrolet||1:05.8335||218.734 MPH|
|3||27||Marco Andretti||Honda||1:06.1166||217.797 MPH|
|4||20||Ed Carpenter||Chevrolet||1:06.1563||217.666 MPH|
|5||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||1:06.2830||217.250 MPH|
|6||10||Tony Kanaan||Chevrolet||1:06.3033||217.184 MPH|
|7||9||Scott Dixon||Chevrolet||1:06.3033||217.184 MPH|
|8||1||Will Power||Chevrolet||1:06.3057||217.176 MPH|
|9||14||Takuma Sato||Honda||1:06.3261||217.109 MPH|
|10||8||Sage Karam (R)||Chevrolet||1:06.3412||217.060 MPH|
|11||26||Carlos Munoz||Honda||1:06.3967||216.878 MPH|
|12||67||Josef Newgarden||Chevrolet||1:06.5159||216.490 MPH|
|13||83||Charlie Kimball||Chevrolet||1:06.5921||216.242 MPH|
|14||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Honda||1:06.6718||215.983 MPH|
|15||11||Sebastien Bourdais||Chevrolet||1:06.7534||215.719 MPH|
|16||5||Ryan Briscoe||Honda||1:06.8132||215.526 MPH|
|17||41||Jack Hawksworth||Honda||1:06.8692||215.346 MPH|
|18||98||Gabby Chaves (R)||Honda||1:07.3778||213.720 MPH|
|19||15||Graham Rahal||Honda||1:07.4034||213.639 MPH|
|20||19||Tristan Vautier||Honda||1:07.5052||213.317 MPH|
|21||4||Stefano Coletti (R)||Chevrolet||1:07.7188||212.644 MPH|
|22||18||Pippa Mann||Honda||1:08.3994||210.528 MPH|
|23||7||James Jakes||Honda||No Time||No Speed|