Another qualifying session, another pole for Simon Pagenaud.
Pagenaud swept the weekend starting spots and grabbed his fourth pole of the season with a fastest lap of 1m14.0379s, setting the time in the first of two 12-minute sessions that were moved up 15 minutes to avoid rain.
“[The rain] definitely changes [the track], a lot less grip, so we took a little bit of adjustments,” said Pagenaud, who led the first 25 laps of Saturday’s race before running out of fuel on the last lap and finishing 13th. ” I just managed to put the lap together on the last lap. We had a tremendous racecar yesterday so hopefully we can maximize today.”
Pagenaud will be joined on the front row by Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose 1m14.5621s lap was the fastest in the second group. While the series moved qualifying up to avoid rainfall, heavy drops were felts midway through the second group of qualifiers.
“It was raining on one end of the track so it was tricky trying to decide how hard to push and not throw anything away, but I’ve got a good car,” Hunter-Reay said.
Helio Castroneves will line up third, Scott Dixon fourth and Mikhail Aleshin fifth. Sebastien Bourdais, who won from 13th on Saturday, will start 12th.
Will Power had a fastest lap of 1m13.8835s in the second group, but he was penalized for interfering with Marco Andretti’s attempt. His final lap moved him up to eighth, sparing him a 22nd-place start.
“I was on an out lap and it was raining and I couldn’t go any faster,” he said. “Frustrating, man, we were so fast. I don’t agree with the penalty, no. I think these guys have got this wrong. They didn’t understand the conditions. It was wet.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi posted the 10th-best time, but his fastest lap was disallowed because IndyCar officials said he ran through a waving yellow. He’ll start 18th instead. Conor Daly (21st) and Marco Andretti (22nd) also saw their best laps disallowed.
Complete qualifying results can be found here.