Ryan Hunter-Reay earned his second Verizon P1 Award of the season by posting a track-record lap of 1 minute, 20.4312 seconds in the Firestone Fast Six for the fourth Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
“I gave it everything I had and it’s great to get the DHL Chevrolet up front again and on pole,” said Hunter-Reay, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion who has a pair of runner-up finishes on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. “That’s three of the four races this year that we’ve been on the front row and twice on pole. I’m so happy for the guys and everything they’ve done for me.
“Starting on pole here is a challenge because you are a sitting duck out front on the long straights.”
Click it: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle qualifying results
Andretti Autosport teammate E.J. Viso will start a career-high second (his previous best was fourth in 2009 at Long Beach).
"To be starting on this track on the front row is great," said Viso, in his first season at Andretti Autosport. "I’m very grateful for the great car that team gave me today. It was good enough for the front row, and I have a lot of faith in them that tomorrow we are going to have a good car in the race that is going to stay and keep that pace."
Dario Franchitti, the pole winner in the inaugural race and in the most recent event at Long Beach, will start third and Tony Kanaan will start a season-high fourth in his home race. James Hinchcliffe and Scott Dixon will share Row 3 for the 75-lap race May 5 (11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).
Will Power, who has won all three races on the temporary street circuit in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car and paced the 25-car field in the two practice sessions preceding qualifications, will start 22nd. Power had started from the pole in the previous two races (set the track record in 2012 of 1:21.2781) in Sao Paulo and qualified fifth in 2010.
He recorded two laps in Group 2 of the first 10-minute session before action was halted because of a red flag with about 3:30 left for an incident involving the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driven by James Jakes. Time expired in the session before cars could return to the track.
“Tough break today to not be able to qualify the way we wanted," Power said. "It's especially bad because the Verizon car had been so quick all day. We felt pretty good going into the qualifying and unfortunately didn’t have time to run the lap we wanted after doing a lap on the blacks (Firestone tires). Now we turn the focus to doing the best we can (May 5) and getting the most out of the points.”
Team Penske teammate and IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves will start 18th after a similar fate.
"We try to not leave the last minute to get caught in one of those situations but unfortunately today was our turn," Castroneves said.
Josef Newgarden, who was 17th overall through the morning practice sessions, did not make a qualifying attempt because the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team was changing the Honda engine in the No. 67 entry. He will start 25th.