Morning qualifying for both Iowa NTT IndyCar Series races kicked off at 9:30 a.m. The early start didn’t mean the 26 drivers would escape the heat as the field was met with 88 degrees and perfect blue skies.
The unique two-lap qualifying format for the Iowa Speedway doubleheader saw the speed from the first lap set each driver’s position for Saturday’s 250-lap contest and the second determined the order for the start of Sunday’s 300-lap race. Team Penske’s Will Power qualified up front for both rounds, earning his 65th and 66th IndyCar poles in a dominant display of speed and control.
With the achievement, the Australian sits one shy of tying Mario Andretti for the all-time pole record of 67.
“Massive, man. I’m so stoked to get two pole positions,” Power said. “I’ve been watching this race and…put a lot of effort into getting the qualifying runs right. We’ll see what we can do.”
For race one, Power earned pole with a lap of 178.199mph. Race two’s pole was slightly slower at 178.013mph.
Saturday’s race sees top six starters led by Power, Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas, who was the first Honda-powered driver in the mix after the five Chevy-powered drivers.
Sunday’s top six features the same front row with Power and Newgarden, but a change for third was recorded by Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta. Daly will start fourth. A similar change was seen on the third row as Coyne’s Takuma Sato took fifth with McLaughlin starting sixth.
After Power, the star of qualifying was Jack Harvey, representing event title sponsor Hy-Vee, as he placed the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in seventh for both races. Chip Ganassi Racing team, as a whole, struggled as Alex Palou was the top performer in 12th. The same was true for Meyer Shank Racing and its oval specialists as Simon Pagenaud’s best lap was good enough for 16th in race two; both will start outside the top 20 in the first race.
UP NEXT: Race 1, 4 p.m. ET, on NBC