Power Zooms To IndyCar Pole At St. Pete

Verizon P1 pole winner Will Power flashes through his nemesis corner - turn 10. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Verizon P1 pole winner Will Power flashes through his nemesis corner – turn 10. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

ST, PETERSBURG, FLA. –For the seventh time in the last eight attempts, Will Power continued to display his qualifying mastery on the St. Petersburg street course, copping the pole for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race will mark the opening of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

After grazing a wall in an earlier round of qualifications, Power was not to be denied in the final round as he sped to the pole with a run of 1:01.0640 and a speed of 106.118 miles per hour.

Driving a Team Penske Chevrolet, Power earned the 45th IndyCar career pole and the 266th fete for his legendary team.

“It takes a total team effort,” Power said in his traditional unemotional manner. Grazing the wall in the opening round didn’t phase him, saying the contact was minor and after his team checked out the car, he was able to go for the pole.

Seeking his first St. Petersburg pole, Scott Dixon came within a whisker but ended up second with a time of 1:01.2814.

Row two qualifiers were James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden, who will be making his first race start for Team Penske.

Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan rounded out the Firestone Fast 6 qualifiers.

Completing the top-10 were Max Chilton, Alexander Rossi, Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal.

Honda power claimed eight of the top-10 qualifiers.

In the opening round of qualifications, three notable occurrences took place: Sebastien Bourdais crashed out early and Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud only timed seventh and eighth fastest, meaning they did not advance to round two.

The duo will start the race far back in 14th and 16th, which will mark dismal starts for Team Penske drivers.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg qualifying results
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – Qualifying Saturday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.8 mile(s) St. Petersburg street circuit, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:01.0640 (106.118)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:01.2219 (105.844)
3. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:01.3039 (105.703)
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:01.7229 (104.985)
5. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:01.9851 (104.541)
6. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 01:02.0824 (104.377)
7. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 01:01.3516 (105.621)
8. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:01.5198 (105.332)
9. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 01:01.6066 (105.184)
10. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:01.6181 (105.164)
11. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 01:01.7399 (104.956)
12. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:03.1588 (102.599)
13. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:01.5898 (105.212)
14. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:01.6129 (105.173)
15. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:01.6070 (105.183)
16. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:01.7159 (104.997)
17. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:01.7674 (104.910)
18. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:01.7598 (104.923)
19. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:01.8465 (104.776)
20. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:02.2030 (104.175)
21. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, No Time (No Speed)

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