Power claims 63rd IndyCar pole position at Gateway
Sunday 22nd August, 2021 - 8:10am
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|