Power wins pole for Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix

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(Courtesy: IndyCar Series/Chris Owens)

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power won the pole for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

This is the fourth career pole in the seven-year history of the event for the Team Penske driver. He went on to win the three previous times he started out front in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Power turned a hot lap of 125.116 miles per hour around the 14-turn road course during the “Fast Six” to take the top spot from Jack Harvey, who will start alongside him in row one.

“We left nothing on the table in that lap,” Power said. “I knew that 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.”

Power was poised for a big qualifying run after clocking the fastest lap of an hour and a half practice session earlier in the day at 125.526 MPH.

It’s the 2018 Indianapolis 500 champion’s 58th career pole position. He’s second on IndyCar’s all-time list behind Mario Andretti, who won 67 poles over his legendary career.

Defending IndyCar Grand Prix champion Simon Pagenaud did not make it out of the first round of qualifying. He will start 20th. Pagenaud and Power are the only two drivers to ever win the event.

“I said this morning we felt pretty good and I think the adjustment we made went in the wrong direction,” said Pagenaud. “It comes down to downforce. If you decide to run less downforce when you let that rear wing down, there’s a lot of speed. I think we might have to do that tomorrow.”

Colton Herta, Graham Raham and rookie Oliver Askew round out the top five qualifiers.

The 26-car field will take the green flag at noon. It will be the first race of the historic IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader. The Xfinity Series races on the road course later in the day at 3:30 p.m.

The Xfinity drivers had two practice sessions on Friday with Team Penske’s Austin Cindric turning the fastest lap at 97.85 MPH.

Two of Indiana’s own weren’t far off the pace. Winamac’s Justin Haley turned a top lap of 96.753 MPH, while Mitchell’s Chase Briscoe’s quick lap was 96.534 MPH.

Briscoe, who drives for another Indiana racer — Tony Stewart, has won four times already this season, including two of the last three races.

Saturday’s 150-mile race will be the first time the Xfinity series will race on the IMS road course.

“Not very many people can say they’ve won in Indianapolis in anything,” Briscoe said after practice. “I’m not going to be complaining if I win a road course race over an oval race here. I’m just glad that we’re still racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This place just has so much history and heritage. It’s just a privilege to get a race here on any configuration.”

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