Aleshin secures maiden IndyCar pole at Pocono

Mikhail Aleshin has claimed his first IndyCar pole at Pocono

Mikhail Aleshin has claimed his first IndyCar pole at Pocono

Russian Mikhail Aleshin has soared to his maiden IndyCar pole, topping qualifying for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono.

As IndyCar returned to the tri-oval with heavy hearts a year on from Justin Wilson’s fatal accident at the Pennsylvania track, Aleshin extracted a 220.44 mph (354.76 km/h) two-lap average.

The Schmidt-Peterson Honda driver was the 12th car to run in the single-car qualifying format, banking a session best 220.6 on his first flying lap to set up the pole effort.

Aleshin said he chanced his hand, taking a gamble after being on the edge of breaking loose and hitting the wall.

“We had a couple of moments in Turn 1, but I decided to keep it flat and see what would happen,” Aleshin admitted.

“(Hitting) the wall didn’t happen, but pole position happened. Amazing.”

Josef Newgarden (Ed Carpenter Racing) crafted a 220.19 (354.36) to just fall short while AJ Foyt’s Takuma Sato was the only other runner to exceed the 220 average and will start third.

Helio Castroneves fared best of the Penske runners, qualifying fourth while Will Power was eighth with points leader Simon Pagenaud to start from 14th.

Carlos Munoz (Andretti Autosport) had occupied the top spot after an early run of 219.64 (353.47) but slipped to fifth ahead of Aleshin’s team-mate James Hinchcliffe and Andretti-Herta’s Indy 500 champ Alex Rossi.

Tony Kanaan was ninth ahead of Ed Carpenter.

The fourth Penske runner, Juan Montoya qualified 15th after the team scrambled to repair his car following a crash in practice.

Defending race champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was forced to sit out qualifying after an earlier heavy shunt but is confident he will return for final practice ahead of the race.

Result: Pocono qualifying

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Lap 1

Lap 2

Total Time

Avg Speed

Comment

1

7

Mikhail Aleshin

D/H/H/F

40.7901

40.8629

01:21.6530

220.445

2

21

Josef Newgarden

D/C/C/F

40.8518

40.8938

01:21.7456

220.195

3

14

Takuma Sato

D/H/H/F

40.9058

40.8873

01:21.7931

220.067

4

3

Helio Castroneves

D/C/C/F

40.9709

40.9288

01:21.8997

219.781

5

26

Carlos Munoz

D/H/H/F

40.9870

40.9628

01:21.9498

219.647

6

5

James Hinchcliffe

D/H/H/F

41.0076

41.0109

01:22.0185

219.463

7

98

 Alex Rossi(R)

D/H/H/F

41.0480

41.0216

01:22.0696

219.326

8

12

Will Power

D/C/C/F

41.0872

41.2487

01:22.3359

218.617

9

10

Tony Kanaan

D/C/C/F

41.1550

41.1849

01:22.3399

218.606

10

20

Ed Carpenter

D/C/C/F

41.3041

41.1045

01:22.4086

218.424

11

15

Graham Rahal

D/H/H/F

41.2689

41.2228

01:22.4917

218.204

12

41

 Jack Hawksworth

D/H/H/F

41.2919

41.2576

01:22.5495

218.051

13

27

Marco Andretti

D/H/H/F

41.2426

41.3217

01:22.5643

218.012

14

22

Simon Pagenaud

D/C/C/F

41.2078

41.4667

01:22.6745

217.721

15

2

Juan Montoya

D/C/C/F

41.2793

41.5614

01:22.8407

217.284

16

83

Charlie Kimball

D/C/C/F

41.4946

41.4865

01:22.9811

216.917

17

8

Max Chilton(R)

D/C/C/F

41.5076

41.5606

01:23.0682

216.689

18

11

Sebastien Bourdais

D/C/C/F

41.6428

41.5892

01:23.2320

216.263

19

9

Scott Dixon

D/C/C/F

41.8258

41.7642

01:23.5900

215.337

20

88

Conor Daly(R)

D/H/H/F

41.9102

41.9056

01:23.8158

214.757

21

19

Pippa Mann

D/H/H/F

42.5995

42.6006

01:25.2001

211.267

22

28

 Ryan Hunter-Reay

D/H/H/F

No Time

DNQ

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone R= Rookie

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