Power Surges In IndyCar Qualifying At St. Pete

Will Power receives the first and unique NTT P1 award. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Will Power receives the first and unique NTT P1 award. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Will Power surprised everyone, including himself, by surging to the pole in the final moments of Firestone Fast 6 qualifying on the tight 1.8-mile street course in St. Petersburg. Throughout practice and the early rounds of qualifications, Power had struggled but when it counted, the Australian pushed hard to earn his eighth pole in 10 tries.

Will Power in action going through Turn 10.   [Joe Jennings Photo]

Will Power in action going through Turn 10. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Power smoothly careened around the 14-turn course in 1 minute 4594 seconds or a speed of 107.170 miles per hour. In doing so, the Team Penske Chevrolet driver delivered the 84th pole for Chevrolet and the 264th pole for the iconic team.

“That last run, the car felt really good,” Power said. “I have to say I didn’t leave anything on the table. I was really surprised when Roger said, P-1, and I was like what? We had the used tires and it was just being there all session. Obviously, the tires had a lap on them; but yeah, I was surprised. I thought someone still had another run to do or something, but yeah. Awesome job, awesome job. The car slowly climbed up all weekend. We were P-10 in the first few practices and moved to P-5. To get the pole for the first race of the season is awesome. It’s a really, really great start.”

Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden qualified second, just a tick of the clock slower.

Rookie Felix Rosenqvist timed third fastest with teammate Scott Dixon fourth. The 2018 IndyCar champion had a frustrating day, spinning once in an early round and took advantage of issues experienced by others to make it into the Fast 6.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi rounded out the top-six qualifiers.

While Power earned the pole honors, teenager Colton Herta starred and seemed to be a cinch to make it into the Fast 6 until he lost out when he was penalized for blocking another driver.

Young Herta will start the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 11th.

Takuma Sato was another victim of a blocking penalty and Marco Andretti will start 17th after his car quit on the course in the first round.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg qualifying results
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – Qualifying Saturday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg NTT IndyCar Series event on the 1.8-mile Streets of St. Petersburg, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:00.4594 (107.179)
2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:00.5570 (107.007)
3. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 01:00.6884 (106.775)
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:00.8544 (106.484)
5. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:01.0784 (106.093)
6. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:01.7739 (104.899)
7. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:00.9531 (106.311)
8. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:01.0146 (106.204)
9. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:01.0185 (106.197)
10. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:01.0944 (106.065)
11. (88) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:01.4182 (105.506)
12. (81) Ben Hanley, Chevrolet, 01:02.3703 (103.896)
13. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:04.6298 (100.263)
14. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 01:00.9061 (106.393)
15. (20) Ed Jones, Chevrolet, 01:06.1422 (97.971)
16. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:00.9495 (106.318)
17. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
18. (7) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:01.1345 (105.996)
19. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
20. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:01.1511 (105.967)
21. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
22. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 01:01.1579 (105.955)
23. (19) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
24. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:01.3785 (105.574)

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