Power untouchable in Portland qualifying

Will Power

Will Power has beaten the field by more than 0.3s in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland as Verizon IndyCar Series leader Scott Dixon only ended up 11th.

Power (#12 Chevrolet) starts next to Team Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden (#1 Chevrolet) and directly in front of Alexander Rossi (#27 Honda) as Andretti Autosport’s series contender qualified third-fastest.

The Australian waited until late in the Firestone Fast Six to head back out on track having comfortably topped the second part of qualifying.

He immediately went nearly a quarter of a second faster than Rossi’s then-benchmark, and found nearly another quarter of a second on top of that to ultimately lower the pole time to 57.3467s.

Rossi and then Newgarden improved on their second runs, after the latter had mucked up his first with a big lock-up at Turn 1, but 0.3410s still separated first from second at the end of the session.

“I was very determined, focusing on what I had to focus on, and very stoked to get pole,” said Power, who moves to second outright all-time with 54 poles.

“That was the aim coming in; pole, win, pole, win, and we can win the championship,” he added of the final two races of the season.

“If Dixon finishes ahead of us tomorrow, it’s over, it is, so that’s what we’ve got in our head.”

Dixon will start only 11th after he was nearly half a second slower than Power in Round 2 and nearly 0.3s away from the top six cut-off in the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

“Just kind of missed it,” said the New Zealander.

“The car was really loose on the blacks and then we knew it was going to be better on the reds; that was definitely the case.

“We kind of went early just because we weren’t locked in (to the top six) so if there was a red (flag) we would have been bounced out anyway.

“Then a car came out in front in (Turn) 1 so I kind of aborted the first lap, and then slowed down and just didn’t really get the lap sequence together right to get the speed out of it, so it is what it is.”

Sebastien Bourdais qualified fourth in a #18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda which was hastily put back together, complete with mismatched bodywork, after the Frenchman crashed in Practice 3 having just set the fastest lap of that session.

Rounding out the top six were Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Honda) and Zach Veach (#26 Honda).

The rest of the top 10 was James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda), Ed Jones (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda), and Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda).

The 105-lap race around Portland International Raceway starts tomorrow at 0500 AEST.

Highlights: Qualifying

Starting grid: Portland

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Time Session
1 12 Will Power D/C/F 57.3467 Fast Six
2 1 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 57.6877 Fast Six
3 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 57.7361 Fast Six
4 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F 57.8881 Fast Six
5 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F 57.9699 Fast Six
6 26 Zach Veach (R) D/H/F 58.1057 Fast Six
7 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 57.6429 Round 2 / Top 12
8 10 Ed Jones D/H/F 57.6499 Round 2 / Top 12
9 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F 57.7277 Round 2 / Top 12
10 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 57.7772 Round 2 / Top 12
11 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 57.8554 Round 2 / Top 12
12 20 Jordan King (R) D/C/F 57.9010 Round 2 / Top 12
13 60 Jack Harvey (R) D/H/F 57.9620 Round 1 / Group 1
14 6 Carlos Munoz D/H/F 57.6748 Round 1 / Group 2
15 59 Max Chilton D/C/F 57.9865 Round 1 / Group 1
16 19 Pietro Fittipaldi (R) D/H/F 57.7321 Round 1 / Group 2
17 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F 57.9939 Round 1 / Group 1
18 39 Santino Ferrucci (R) D/H/F 57.7735 Round 1 / Group 2
19 4 Matheus Leist (R) D/C/F 58.0036 Round 1 / Group 1
20 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F 57.7848 Round 1 / Group 2
21 88 Gabby Chaves D/C/F 58.1635 Round 1 / Group 1
22 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F 58.0983 Round 1 / Group 2
23 32 Alfonso Celis Jnr (R) D/C/F 58.2735 Round 1 / Group 1
24 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F 58.2531 Round 1 / Group 2
25 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F 58.3219 Round 1 / Group 2

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

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