Will Power managed his tires perfectly for the Fast Six and used that advantage Friday afternoon to score his fourth pole position of the Indy Grand Prix.
With an almost new set of optional tires still at his disposal, Power knocked Jack Harvey off the top spot by 0.2s as qualifying ended on the IMS road course, and he’ll be gunning for his fourth win in what is usually a tune-up for the Indianapolis 500.
“Nothing left on the table in that lap,” said the 2018 Indy 500 winner. “I knew that (Jack) Harvey had a pretty good time up there, so we put our best set on for the last run and I just gave it my all. Fortunately, it was enough. But man, the heat. I just want to jump into an ice bath right now, I’m so bloody hot!”
With temperatures in the 90s, Power couldn’t better last year’s track record of 1m09.9s but his 1m10.177s was enough to best Harvey’s best of 1m10.365s.
Power and teammate Josef Newgarden both had red tires with only one lap on them, and it came down to one flyer under the clock in which the Aussie nailed it, while the defending NTT IndyCar champion overshot Turn 12.
Harvey, who scored a podium in this event a year ago for Meyer/Shank Racing, continued to show impressive form on the 2.4-mile road course and damn near stole the pole from Team Penske.
“Mega effort by the entire team,” praised Harvey, who is running the full season in 2020. “We did well in practice this morning and I felt we’d have a good pace in qualifying as well. It’s the best we’ve done as a team, so we’re optimistic to follow that into tomorrow.”
Colton Herta charged into the third slot in the 26-car field, while Graham Rahal threw in a fine lap for fourth, rookie Oliver Askew upstaged a lot of bigger names by qualifying fifth and Newgarden didn’t complete his Fast Six lap and starts sixth.
Askew used up his tires setting the quickest time in the Fast 12, but it was a good day for Arrow McLaren SP.
Scott Dixon, who captured the season opener at Texas, will start seventh, and Conor Daly got off to a good start for Ed Carpenter Racing and lines up eighth.
“I think being on the pole is definitely a good spot,” said Power, who is unbeaten when starting first on the IMS road course. “You’re probably going to be out of a bit of harm’s way, but there are obviously a lot of hungry guys behind you trying to gain some positions.”