Power takes pole for IndyCar championship decider

Power takes pole for IndyCar championship decider

IndyCar

Power takes pole for IndyCar championship decider

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Will Power took pole position for Saturday’s IndyCar season finale at Fontana, inadvertently taking a point from Penske teammate and championship contender Helio Castroneves in the process.

Castroneves had been the provisional polesitter until Power took his turn on the track, and the Australian’s two-lap average of 220.775mph was enough to bump the Brazilian from the top spot by 1.1mph.

“It would have been nice for Helio to get the point,” Power said. “But Scott [Dixon, Castroneves’ title rival] didn’t, so it still keeps it alive.”

Even if he had beaten Power, the 10-place grid penalty that Castroneves carries into the weekend would still have prevented him from lining up for the race on pole. Dixon, who qualified seventh fastest, has a similar penalty and will start from 17th.

Power had commented during the session that his main job had been to keep Dixon from claiming pole; an idea that the New Zealander found baffling. “I’m surprised he thought we had that much pace,” he said.

AJ Allmendinger, called in by Penske to drive a third car to reinforce Castroneves’ title hopes, did a great job to finish up third fastest to complete a Team Penske sweep, despite not having driven an IndyCar since Detroit in June. Despite the result, the NASCAR regular was convinced that he could have gone quicker. “I still feel like I’m chasing the car,” he said.

Sebastien Bourdais’ last qualifying session for Dragon Racing ended with him setting the fourth-fastest time ahead of Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s James Jakes.

Alex Tagliani, who is standing in for the injured Dario Franchitti at Ganassi, finished up 13th fastest.

“There is a lot at stake with Scott, and we need to make sure we have a good car in the race,” said Tagliani. “We didn’t go out to try and push and try to do anything special in qualifying.” 

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine      Speed 1.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy     220.775 2.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy     219.677* 3.  AJ Allmendinger      Penske/Chevy     218.894 4.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy     218.513 5.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda    217.986 6.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda      217.979 7.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda    217.979* 8.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy   217.958 9.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy  217.93210.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda     217.871*11.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy   217.79812.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy         217.56613.  Alex Tagliani        Ganassi/Honda    217.41914.  Carlos Munoz         Andretti/Chevy   217.05015.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy   216.89816.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda    216.44717.  Oriol Servia         Panther/Chevy    216.21318.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda      216.106*19.  JR Hildebrand        Barracuda/Honda  215.96720.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda    215.20721.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy         214.67922.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy     213.262*23.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda24.  Pippa Mann           Coyne/Honda25.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda              ** Set to take 10-place grid penaltyGrid set by average speed over two-lap run

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