INDYCAR: Aleshin takes first career pole at Pocono

INDYCAR: Aleshin takes first career pole at Pocono

IndyCar

INDYCAR: Aleshin takes first career pole at Pocono

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Pocono Raceway was a scary place Saturday. Juan Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Ryan Hunter-Reay all pounded the wall in morning practice and the wind picked up for qualifying, which made the Tricky Triangle even trickier. It wasn’t a place for the faint of heart going into Turn 1.

In other words, a perfect scenario for Mikhail Aleshin.

The only Russian racer in IndyCar history held his breath and the throttle down to capture the first pole position of his career.

“We had a couple of moments in Turn 1 but I decided to keep it flat and see what would happen,” said the 30-year-old native of Moscow. “(Hitting) the wall didn’t happen but pole position happened. It was awesome.”

Aleshin, who had his initial IndyCar victory in the bag at Mid-Ohio before tangling with another car in his final pit stop, edged Josef Newgarden to for the top spot with a two-lap average of 220.445mph in the SPM Honda.

“You don’t know what this means to me, it’s hard to put into words but I am so proud of this team,” said the first and only Russian driver in IndyCar history who nearly lost his life in an accident at Fontana in 2014. “I really enjoy ovals and my team gave me a perfect car.

“We were P1 in practice this morning and backed it up but it’s tomorrow that counts and I think we have a good chance.”

Newgarden posted an average of 220.195mph in the Fuzzy’s Chevy and was a little miffed at himself afterward.

“I made a little change in the qualifying line and now I wish I had left my car alone because we may have been able to get the pole,” said the 25-year-old native of Tennessee. “I’m second-guessing myself but starting second is fine. We’ve got a good car for the race.”

Takuma Sato turned the third best speed at 220.067 in the ABC Supply Honda and Helio Castroneves was fourth fastest at 219.785mph.

Points leader Simon Pagenaud wound up 14th in the Menard’s Chevy while four-time IndyCar champ Scott Dixon had a terrible run and will start 19th.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

 Pos.

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Lap 1

Lap 2

Total Time

Avg Speed

 

1

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

40.7901

40.8629

01:21.6530

220.445

 

2

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

40.8518

40.8938

01:21.7456

220.195

 

3

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

40.9058

40.8873

01:21.7931

220.067

 

4

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

40.9709

40.9288

01:21.8997

219.781

 

5

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

40.9870

40.9628

01:21.9498

219.647

 

6

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

41.0076

41.0109

01:22.0185

219.463

 

7

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

41.0480

41.0216

01:22.0696

219.326

 

8

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

41.0872

41.2487

01:22.3359

218.617

 

9

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

41.1550

41.1849

01:22.3399

218.606

 

10

20

Carpenter, Ed

D/C/C/F

41.3041

41.1045

01:22.4086

218.424

 

11

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

41.2689

41.2228

01:22.4917

218.204

 

12

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

41.2919

41.2576

01:22.5495

218.051

 

13

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

41.2426

41.3217

01:22.5643

218.012

 

14

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

41.2078

41.4667

01:22.6745

217.721

 

15

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

41.2793

41.5614

01:22.8407

217.284

 

16

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

41.4946

41.4865

01:22.9811

216.917

 

17

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

41.5076

41.5606

01:23.0682

216.689

 

18

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

41.6428

41.5892

01:23.2320

216.263

 

19

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

41.8258

41.7642

01:23.5900

215.337

 

20

88

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

41.9102

41.9056

01:23.8158

214.757

 

21

19

Mann, Pippa

D/H/H/F

42.5995

42.6006

01:25.2001

211.267

 

22

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

(R) Rookie

D/H/H/F

   

No Time

 

DNQ

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone

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