INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Will Power won his third pole of the season Friday after setting a qualifying record for the IndyCar Grand Prix.
The Australian completed the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in 1 minute, 7.7044 seconds to give Roger Penske his 250th pole win as an IndyCar owner.
Penske’s drivers again dominated qualifying, taking four of the top five spots. Brazil’s Helio Castroneves will join Power on the front row in Saturday’s race after finishing in 1:08.1169. American Josef Newgarden will start third after being clocked at 1:08.1622.
New Zealand’s Scott Dixon, of Chip Ganassi Racing, and Juan Pablo Montoya will start fourth and fifth. Defending champ Simon Pagenaud will start seventh.
Penske’s cars have won all five poles this season, with Power and Castroneves alternating their qualifying victories.
“I’m going to stop that alternating in a couple of weeks,” Power said, referring to the May 28 Indianapolis 500.
For Penske’s powerhouse team, it’s been that kind of season.
Pagenaud, Power and Castroneves went one-two-three in points last year and the team added fourth-place finisher Newgarden during the offseason. Montoya, the 41-year-old Colombian, will make his season debut this weekend and wasted no time proving he can still run at or near the front.
“The last time I qualified was September of last year,” the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner said. “Our goal was to make the top six — and we did.”
Everyone else has pretty much been relegated to following the leader.
“We were kind of best in class, again,” Dixon said. “But it is top four.”
The only real surprise was Penske didn’t have five cars in the top six.
Pagenaud was bumped out in the closing seconds by France’s Sebastien Bourdais in the closing moments of the semifinal round. Even Bourdais, who qualified sixth at 1:08.3973 for Dale Coyne Racing, felt a bit out of place.
“It was kind of like we were in the middle of a Penske-fest,” Bourdais said. “Scott and I were kind of in the minority (of the final group).”
Two of the first three grand prix winners have done it from the pole and if Power can do it again, he’ll join Pagenaud as the only two-time winners of the race.