Will Power wins pole for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200
LEXINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Will Power, still looking for a victory at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course, took his fifth pole of the season and fellow Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden qualified second for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200.
For Power, it was his third pole at Mid-Ohio and the 49th of his career to tie Bobby Unser for fourth among IndyCar drivers. Power has also been on the front row at Mid-Ohio for six straight years.
In eight starts at Mid-Ohio, his best finish is second, with five other top-five finishes.
“We haven’t won here,” he said. “It’s something I’d really like to do. I’ve qualified well here. I’ve run well here.”
Power won the Fast 6 qualifier Saturday with a lap of 126.672 mph compared to 126.407 for Newgarden as Chevrolet took the top two spots.
Team Penske earned both of the spots on the front row for the fifth time in 13 races this season.
“We’re in the front row with Team Penske so it’s a good team day,” Newgarden said.
Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport drove his Honda to the third position. Local favorite Graham Rahal (Honda) of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was fourth.
Rahal was in contention for the top spot until getting loose on a turn before regaining control.
“That’s as sideways as I’ve been in a long time,” he said.
Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet) of Team Penske qualified fifth and five-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon (Honda) was sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon is the only driver to make the Fast 6 in the seven races in which the qualifying format is used.
The race is 90 laps around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile course for a total of 203.22 miles.
Dixon’s teammate, Tony Kanaan, did not advance out of the first round of qualifying when his spin-out on the last lap impeded James Hinchcliffe, causing a local yellow caution. Kanaan was docked his two fastest times.
“We’ll overcome that. There’s always the race tomorrow,” Kanaan said.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Team Penske appears poised to control Mid-Ohio again. Power has done everything but win there. Newgarden won the last race at Toronto. Castroneves is always lurking and defending champion Simon Pagenaud will start seventh.
NOT SO HOT
After being held out of the last race at Toronto by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports management for poor recent performances, Mikhail Aleshin went off course and into the tire barriers during Saturday’s practice session. He later qualified last of 21 drivers. Aleshin is 17th in the series points standings with three top-10 finishes but has crashed out of three of the first 11 races, including two of his past three.
Newgarden is fourth in series points after finishing in the same spot last year for Ed Carpenter racing. “We’re still learning,” Newgarden said. “We haven’t had a perfect year by any means but we’ve had a very good year.”