Power surges to pole at WWTR

Barry Cantrell/Motorsport Images

Power surges to pole at WWTR

IndyCar

Power surges to pole at WWTR

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Fresh off his first victory of the season, Team Penske’s Will Power captured his first pole position of 2021 with a lightning fast run in qualifying at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It marked the 63rd pole of Power’s career as he closes in on the all-time record of 67 held by Mario Andretti.

“When I did the laps, I knew the second one was really good,” said Power, who took the top spot with an average speed of 180.618mph. “Stoked, man. Every [pole] I get gets me closer to that record. That’s a little victory in itself, getting pole. Also starting up front for the race.”

Power will share the front row with Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who came close with a 180.528mph average in the No. 26 Honda.

“It’s a good place to start,” Herta said. “We’re gonna be up there; we have a good race car. Anything can happen. Qualifying doesn’t matter all too much, but it’s good to qualify up front.”

Team Penske flexed its muscles at WWTR in time trials as Josef Newgarden (180.509mph) in the No. 2 Chevy and Simon Pagenaud (180.368mph) in the No. 22 Chevy locked out the second row. Behind them, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward (179.894mph) in the No. 5 Chevy and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson (179.839mph) in the No. 8 Honda completed the top six.

Elsewhere on the grid, CGR’s Alex Palou had a dismal run, earning 12th in the championship-leading No. 10 Honda, but with a nine-place grid penalty to serve on the grid, he’ll start 21st in the field of 24.

On a happier note, Dale Coyne Racing had a positive session with Ed Jones securing 13th (which will become 12th with Palou’s penalty) in the No. 18 DCR with Vasser Sullivan Honda, and likewise, his teammate Romain Grosjean was 15th in the No. 51 DCR with Rick Ware Racing Honda on his oval qualifying debut, and will move up to 14th for the start.

For those who are planning to watch the 260-lap race that starts at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, the top five in the championship will start 21st (Palou), fifth (O’Ward), eighth (Scott Dixon), third (Newgarden), and sixth (Ericsson) as WWTR marks the first of four races left to run this season.

RESULTS

AS IT HAPPENED 

First out was A. J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett who set the initial standard at 174.803mph. Third up was Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist who pushed the best speed to an impressive 178.928mph in the No. 7 Chevy. Scott McLaughlin was the 10th driver to qualify and nearly knocked Rosenqvist from atop the field with a stout performance that placed the No. 3 Team Penske Chevy at 178.914mph.

Romain Grosjean was the 12th driver to roll out and, despite having a few issues with his lines, was impressive on his way to post the fifth-best speed at that time with a 178.220mph performance. It took Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, the 13th driver out, to take pole from Rosenqvist with a 179.589mph in the No. 27 Honda.

Will Power ensured Rossi’s celebrations were short lived as the 15th driver to qualify moved the mark to a new height of 180.618mph in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevy. Although many others took shots at his speed, Power withstood their efforts and held onto P1.

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