Will Power turned in a record-breaking performance on Friday.
August 25, 2017
Almost to a man, each driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series expected Team Penske driver Will Power to lower the boom as the last driver to make a qualification attempt Friday night at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., on Friday night. He was one of the fastest drivers in practice and with the last draw, it favored the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion.
Not only did Power lower the boom, he did it decisively. He won the pole with a two-lap average of 189.642 mph in his Chevrolet to knock teammate and Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden off the pole for Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline.
Powerbroke the track record of 187.963 mph when CART driver Raul Boesel won the pole during single-lap qualifications on May 23, 1997. Helio Castroneves was the most recent pole winner at Gateway in 2003 with a one-lap average of 175.965 mph.
Team Penske swept the top four positions in Friday night’s qualifications. Josef Newgarden’s Chevrolet was second with a two-lap average of 188.316 mph, Castroneves third with two laps at 187.457 mph and defending series champion Simon Pagenaud fourth at 186.747 mph.
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Ed Carpenter rounded out an all-Chevy top five at 184.528 mph. That means Team Penske’s pole-winning driver was 5 mph faster than the nearest non-Penske driver in the field.
Takuma Sato, winner of the 101stIndianapolis 500, was the fastest Honda at 184.186 mph followed by fellow Honda driver Scott Dixon, seventh with a two-lap average of 183.848 mph.
Power’s 50thpole ties him with Castroneves for third on the all-time Indy car pole list.
“I think qualifying is something I really enjoy because it's really the only time the whole weekend where you give absolutely everything,” Power said. “Racing in Europe, pace is everything. Obviously, IndyCar is the same, especially on road and street courses. So, driving for Penske definitely helps, and you know, they're obviously giving you cars week in and week out to contend for the pole and race wins.”
Newgarden was one of the drivers who knew his time on the pole wouldn’t hold up at the end. After all, Power was sitting there just waiting for his time to shine as the very last driver on the cooling and darkening race course.
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Qualifying Friday for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and speed:1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 189.642 mph2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 188.316 3. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 187.457 4. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 186.747 5. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 184.528 6. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 184.186 7. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 183.848 8. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 183.620 9. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 183.578 10. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 183.528 11. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 183.283 12. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 182.900 13. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 182.830 14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 182.529 15. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 182.499 16. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 182.271 17. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 182.195 18. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 182.137 19. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 181.846 20. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 181.191 21. (7) Sebastian Saavedra, Honda, 177.700
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By Bruce Martin
Car news, reviews, motorsports,
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