TORONTO – Simon Pagenaud sped to his first Verizon P1 Award of 2017 in record fashion, winning the pole position in qualifying today for the Honda Indy Toronto by setting a new track standard.
Pagenaud, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion driving the No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary street course, clocked a lap of 58.9124 seconds (109.138 mph). It bettered by more than eight-tenths of a second the previous record for the current track layout set last year by Will Power.
HONDA INDY TORONTO: Unofficial qualifying results
In earning his 10th career pole position, Pagenaud also notched the eighth pole this season for Team Penske and No. 253 in the illustrious Indy car history of the team.
Graham Rahal qualified second in the No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with a lap of 59.2245 seconds (108.563 mph).
A pair of Pagenaud’s teammates at Team Penske, Helio Castroneves and Power, locked up the second row in qualifying. Castroneves was third fastest in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (59.4345 seconds, 108.180 mph) with defending race winner Power fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (59.4340 seconds, 107.982 mph).
Championship leader Scott Dixon was fifth in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda (59.7970 seconds, 107.524 mph). The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six, the third and final round of knockout qualifying, at every road- and street-course race where it has been contested this season.
The final spot in the Firestone Fast Six went to hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe, who equaled his best Toronto qualifying effort of sixth with a lap of 1 minute, 0.14145 seconds in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.
Two incidents in earlier qualifying rounds affected drivers Esteban Gutierrez and JR Hildebrand.
Gutierrez, a Verizon IndyCar Series rookie with Formula One experience, will start last in the 21-car field after his No. 18 UNIFIN Honda made hard contact with the wall at the exit of Turn 11 at the conclusion of Segment 1, Group 1 qualifying. The Dale Coyne Racing entry sustained significant right-side and rear damage in the incident.
Hildebrand slid into the wall at the exit of Turn 8 in Segment 2 qualifying, when his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet jumped the curb on the inside of the corner and slid straight into the barrier. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver will start 12th in Sunday’s race, the 33rd for Indy cars on the streets of Exhibition Place dating to the first event in 1986.
A final 30-minute warmup practice is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday and streams live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Live coverage of the 85-lap race commences at 3 p.m. on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore presentation airing at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.