Will Power’s mastery of qualifying in the concrete jungle at St. Petersburg continued Saturday as he won the pole position for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix – the ninth time he’s wound up No. 1 on these coastal Florida city streets.
“I nailed it – a really good lap – but I had to work hard,” said the 40-year-old Aussie after scoring the 62nd pole of his career and moving to within five of Mario Andretti’s record.
Asked why he’s always able to pull out a fast lap, Power replied: “I can only do it once a weekend, I reckon; but I love it and it’s part of my craft. I’ve been using it for 25 years.”
Power’s lap of 1m01.106s in the Team Penske Verizon Chevy was just enough to clip Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta.
Rossi, who will be looking for his first win of 2020 in Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series finale, threw down a lap of 1m01.173s in his AutoNation Honda, while Herta hoofed a 1m01.1816 in his Capstone Honda.
Overall, a great afternoon for the Andretti team as James Hinchcliffe wound up fourth fastest and Jack Harvey, whose Meyer-Shank team has a technical partnership with Andretti, claimed the fifth spot.
Pato O’Ward starts sixth in the Arrow McLaren SP Chevy and Sebastian Bourdais gave A.J. Foyt’s Chevy a good ride en route to seventh.
Scott Dixon, who carries a 32-point lead over Josef Newgarden into the finale to decide the championship, will start a disappointing 11th in the Chip Ganassi/PNC Honda of Chip Ganassi, but needs to move up only two spots, into ninth, to clinch the title.
Newgarden could only manage the eighth-fastest lap in his Hitachi Chevy.
Felix Rosenqvist was bounced out of the top 12 for impeding the lap of Alex Palou, and there was a 30m delay from Q2 to Q3 while IndyCar officials tried to determine whether Rinus Veekay and Oliver Askew were guilty of not slowing for a local yellow.
In the end, the rookie pair did not lose their spots, but IndyCar’s timing and scoring went down to further add to the delay.