Power takes record pole, Dixon 13th, Newgarden last row

Josef Newgarden. Picture: Stan Sport

IndyCar Series leader Will Power has qualified on pole position for a record 68th time in a disastrous session for his key rivals at Laguna Seca.

Power will start first for the final race of the season but Team Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden, who is next in the series standings, is on the very last row after a spin in Group 1 of Qualifying.

Also failing to advance from that 10-minute stanza was the man with whom Newgarden is tied for second in the series, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who is due to start 13th.

The other two mathematical title contenders fared not much better, with neither Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson nor Penske’s Scott McLaughlin making it through to the Fast Six.

McLaughlin will start eighth and Ericsson 10th, after they both made errors during Round 2 of the session.

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For Power, the pole position breaks Mario Andretti’s all-time record and hands him an extra series point, extending his lead over Newgarden and Dixon to 21, with 53 left on offer.

CLICK HERE to see Mario Andretti congratulate Power

CLICK HERE for Power reaction

As for Newgarden, he sat fifth at the halfway mark of the Group 1 portion of Round 1 of Qualifying when he made a complete mess of the Corkscrew.

The Tennessean was too greedy into the left-hander and clipped a pyramid inside the apex which is designed to prevent just that.

The jolt caused Car #2 to spin and it eventually came to rest with its front wheels stranded in the air, triggering a red flag.

While the 10 minutes had all but run out, a green flag was waved again with 20 seconds to go and the other 12 were given the opportunity to set one more hot lap, which all did on red tyres.

Dixon was among the last to make the alternate finish line again, in fifth, before being pushed back to sixth by team-mate Ericsson then bumped out altogether by Simon Pagenaud (Meyer Shank Racing).

He will therefore start 13th, sharing Row 7 with Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) after the Dutchman was seventh in Group 2, with Newgarden 25th on the grid.

CLICK HERE for Newgarden reaction

When the Fast Six eventually unfolded, Power did it all in just one lap.

The Queenslander went out initially on blacks but came straight back into the pits after warming up the #12 Chevrolet.

Alexander Rossi was quickest initially on reds with a 1:12.0168s before Andretti Autosport team-mate Romain Grosjean took over top spot with a 1:11.7858s.

Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing) then grabbed provisional pole with a 1:11.6320s before Power came out and fired in a 1:11.6127s.

When the chequered flag was unfurled shortly after, it was Power, Ilott, Rossi on a 1:11.7698s, Grosjean, Alex Palou (Ganassi), and Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP), and that was how it stayed.

Earlier, in Round 2, Rossi set the pace on a 1:11.4238s and Power got through in third on a 1:11.4871s.

McLaughlin was eighth when the chequered flag came out and then dropped a wheel off at Turn 4, failing to improve.

Palou subsequently lifted himself from seventh to fifth, bumping David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports) out of the top six and hence to seventh on the starting grid.

Ericsson spun at the Corkscrew during his second run and would end up 10th-quickest in the segment.

As such, Rows 4 through 6 are Malukas, McLaughlin, Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren SP), Ericsson, Pagenaud, and Helio Castroneves (MSR).

Back in Group 2 of Round 1, Rosenqvist was top on a 1:11.3471s and Power second on a 1:11.3496s, while Colton Herta was the most notable failure to advance.

The Andretti w/ Curb-Agajanian driver was off at the Andretti Hairpin on his first flyer, then half off later in the session as he managed just ninth in the group and hence 18th on the grid.

Simona De Silvestro (Paretta Autosport) will bring up the very rear of the 26-car field, alongside Newgarden.

The field is back for the Warm Up on Sunday at 12:00 ET/Monday at 02:00 AEST, followed by the final race of the season later in the day at 15:30 ET/05:30 AEST.

Stan Sport’s live and ad-free coverage resumes on Monday morning at 05:00 AEST.

CLICK HERE to watch Qualifying highlights

Results: Qualifying

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Qual time Session
1 12 Will Power D/C/F 1:11.6127 Round 3 / Fast Six
2 77 Callum Ilott D/C/F 1:11.6320 Round 3 / Fast Six
3 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 1:11.7698 Round 3 / Fast Six
4 28 Romain Grosjean D/H/F 1:11.7858 Round 3 / Fast Six
5 10 Alex Palou D/H/F 1:12.1625 Round 3 / Fast Six
6 5 Pato O’Ward D/C/F 1:12.4542 Round 3 / Fast Six
7 18 David Malukas D/H/F 1:11.6295 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
8 3 Scott McLaughlin D/C/F 1:11.6916 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
9 7 Felix Rosenqvist D/C/F 1:11.7285 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
10 8 Marcus Ericsson D/H/F 1:12.1359 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
11 60 Simon Pagenaud D/H/F 1:12.2808 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
12 06 Helio Castroneves D/H/F 1:12.8856 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
13 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 1:12.1722 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
14 21 Rinus VeeKay D/C/F 1:12.1442 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
15 20 Conor Daly D/C/F 1:12.2661 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
16 30 Christian Lundgaard D/H/F 1:12.2093 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
17 14 Kyle Kirkwood D/C/F 1:12.4299 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
18 26 Colton Herta D/H/F 1:12.2720 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
19 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 1:12.5970 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
20 29 Devlin DeFrancesco D/H/F 1:12.2996 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
21 45 Jack Harvey D/H/F 1:12.8366 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
22 51 Takuma Sato D/H/F 1:12.4489 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
23 48 Jimmie Johnson D/H/F 1:13.4172 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
24 4 Dalton Kellett D/C/F 1:12.8001 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
25 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F No Time Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
26 16 Simona De Silvestro D/C/F 1:13.5181 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

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