Stats: Qualifying Results
Will Power drove closer to the all-time INDYCAR SERIES record for pole positions, winning the NTT P1 Award for the Bommarito Automotive Group presented by Axalta and Valvoline this afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
Power earned his first pole of the season and the 63rd of his illustrious career, just four behind tying the record of 67 set by Mario Andretti. Power’s two-lap average speed was 180.618 mph in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet on the 1.25-mile oval, as Team Penske took three of the top four spots on the starting grid.
“When I the laps, I knew the second one was really good,” Power said. “I didn’t think it could be much better than that. The first one, it didn’t downshift because I carried so much speed into (Turn) 1; it didn’t grab fourth (gear) until out of the corner.
“Stoked, man, because every one I get gets me a little closer to that record. It’s going to be really tough to ever beat that, but if I didn’t get a pole this year, it pretty much was going to be impossible.”
Coverage of the 260-lap race tonight starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network. It’s the final oval race of the 2021 season.
Colton Herta will join Power in the front row after a run of 180.528 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Herta, like Power, thought he could have been even faster with better shifting.
“I could have upshifted earlier in my second lap,” Herta said. “I was in the (rev) limiter coming out of (Turn) 1, and that was definitely enough (to cost him pole). The upshift from third to fourth, I was a little late on it, unfortunately.”
The second row will consist of two-time series champion Josef Newgarden starting third in the No. 2 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet (180.509) and teammate Simon Pagenaud fourth in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet (180.368). Newgarden, who was quickest in practice earlier today, is fourth in the series standings, 55 points behind leader Alex Palou.
Championship contender Pato O’Ward will start fifth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet (179.894), while fellow title contender Marcus Ericsson joins him in the third row by starting sixth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda (179.838). O’Ward is second in the standings, 21 points behind Palou; Ericsson is fifth, 62 points out of the lead.
Six-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon is starting eighth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda (179.488). Dixon is third in the standings, 34 points behind teammate Palou.
Palou faces a tough task to stay ahead of his title rivals tonight. He qualified 12th in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda at 178.579 but will start 21st in the 24-car field due to a nine-position starting grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix last Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean qualified a solid 15th at 178.220 in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda for his highly anticipated first career oval start.