Power claims 63rd IndyCar pole position at Gateway

Will Power has recorded pole position at Gateway Motorsports Park. Picture: James Black

Team Penske’s Will Power has claimed pole position for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.

It marks the 63rd pole position for Power, edging him closer to the all-time record currently held by Mario Andretti who has 67 to his credit.

“When I did the laps, I knew the second one was really good, I didn’t think there could really be much better than that,” Power explained.

“The first one, it didn’t downshift and I carried so much speed into [Turn] 1. It didn’t grab fourth [gear] until after the corner.

“Stoked man, because every one I get gets me a little bit closer to that record.

“I know it’s going to be really tough to ever be able to beat that but if I didn’t get a pole this year it pretty much was going to be impossible.”

Power’s latest pole position effort comes after winning last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ending a 12-race winless drought.

“There’s definitely a lot of confidence for the team after last week and in myself as well, because I struggled a little bit this year,” he added.

“It just feels good to put qualifying sessions together without mistakes and also races. That’s a little victory in itself getting that pole.

“I’m just so happy to get another pole that’s closer to that record and also starting up front for the race.”

Dalton Kellett (A. J. Foyt Enterprises) was first out to complete his two-lap average, setting the benchmark with a 174.803 mph effort.

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was the 10th car out on track, setting a two-lap average of 178.914mph to slot into second behind Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren SP).

After the first 10 runners, it was Rosenqvist who led McLaughlin, Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing with Ed Vasser-Sullivan), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport), Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing), Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing), Sebastien Bourdais (A. J. Foyt Enterprises), James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Steinbrenner Racing), Conor Daly (Carlin), and Kellett.

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi was the first to crack the 179 mph bracket, setting a 179.589 mph two-lap average to go straight to the top.

However, Will Power was quick to beat that effort, setting a blistering 180.618 mph average in the #12 entry.

Simon Pagenaud soon made it a Team Penske one-two after he set a 180.368 mph average behind the wheel of the #22.

Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) split The Captain’s men on his two-lap flyer with a 180.528 mph average then practice topper Josef Newgarden slotted into third with his two-lap effort.

Scott Dixon, who held third in the standings going into the weekend, looked to struggle with a nervous car.

Nevertheless, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver would set a 179.488 mph two-lap average, eventually ending the session in eighth.

Like Dixon, title contender O’Ward looked like he was struggling with a twitchy car, eventually dropping into fifth.

Series leader Alex Palou was the last on track, and with a nine-place grid penalty hanging over his head for an unapproved engine change, that guaranteed Power pole position.

In the end, the Spaniard would only qualify 12th with a 178.579 mph two-lap average. With the penalty applied, he will start 21st.

Palou leads the series on 415 points ahead of O’Ward (394) and Dixon (381).

The 260-lap race at Gateway Motorsports Park gets underway later this morning at 10:00 AEST.

Results: Bommarito Automotive Group 500, Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Lap 1 Lap 2 Average
1 12 Will Power 24.9781 24.8508 180.618
2 26 Colton Herta 24.9231 24.9306 180.528
3 2 Josef Newgarden 25.009 24.8499 180.509
4 22 Simon Pagenaud 24.9417 24.9564 180.368
5 5 Pato O’Ward 25.0855 24.9441 179.894
6 8 Marcus Ericsson 24.986 25.0589 179.839
7 27 Alexander Rossi 25.0374 25.0771 179.589
8 9 Scott Dixon 25.1274 25.0153 179.488
9 15 Graham Rahal 25.2118 25.0674 179.000
10 7 Felix Rosenqvist 25.195 25.1046 178.928
11 3 Scott McLaughlin 25.2894 25.0142 178.914
12 10 Alex Palou 25.1824 25.2156 178.579
13 18 Ed Jones 25.2896 25.1644 178.380
14 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 25.2011 25.2594 178.357
15 51 Romain Grosjean 25.1837 25.3157 178.220
16 60 Jack Harvey 25.26 25.2763 178.090
17 30 Takuma Sato 25.274 25.3232 177.875
18 48 Tony Kanaan 25.368 25.4282 177.179
19 14 Sebastien Bourdais 25.4218 25.4606 176.878
20 29 James Hinchcliffe 25.4631 25.4338 176.828
21 59 Conor Daly 25.4926 25.4854 176.547
22 20 Ed Carpenter 25.5659 25.4951 176.260
23 21 Rinus VeeKay 25.5544 25.5189 176.217
24 4 Dalton Kellett 25.814 25.6724 174.803

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