Will Power earned the 67th pole position of his storied INDYCAR SERIES career – tying the legendary Mario Andretti for the all-time series record – and captured the NTT P1 Award on Friday afternoon for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at World Wide Technology Raceway.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader Power, from Australia, turned a two-lap average speed of 182.727 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to earn his fourth pole of the season. Power will earn an extra point for the NTT P1 Award, which could come in handy since he leads six-time series champion Scott Dixon by just six points with three races remaining.
SEE: Qualifying Results | Qualifying Highlights
“It’s just amazing,” Power said. “Amazing year so far. This is a big victory for me, to reach the 67 number and equal such a legend of the sport in Mario Andretti. I just can’t believe that I’m right there with Mario because there’s been no one like him.”
Saturday’s live coverage of the 260-lap Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline will begin at 6 p.m. ET (USA Network, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network).
Fellow championship contender Marcus Ericsson will join Power on the front row after his qualifying run of 182.070 in the No. 8 Bryant Honda. Ericsson is third in points, 12 behind Power.
Two-time series champion and 2022 title contender Josef Newgarden will start third after his run of 181.629 in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden is fourth in points, 22 behind Power.
Scott McLaughlin ensured the asymmetrical, 1.25-mile oval was a Penske playground with all three cars in the first two rows of the starting grid, as he qualified fourth at 181.406 in the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet.
Chip Ganassi Racing also had a strong day, putting three cars in the top six. Reigning series champion Alex Palou qualified fifth at 181.289 in the No. 10 American Legion Honda, while six-time series champion Dixon will start sixth after a qualifying run of 180.954 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Power’s pole wasn’t a surprise, given he already led the series with three poles entering this event and paced practice earlier today at 180.539. Power also won the NTT P1 Award for this race last year at 180.618.
Still, there was nothing routine about his qualifying run in the shadow of the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Power tried to keep the throttle pedal to the floor in Turns 3 and 4 during his last lap on the tricky oval, and he realized midway through that he needed to downshift to complete the corner without contact. Still, Power deftly kept the car off the SAFER Barrier and delivered the coveted 67th pole.
“I’m still shaking,” Power said. “There was nothing left on the table – let’s put it that way. The second lap, I was loose in (Turns) 1-2 and then tried to go again as much as I could in (Turns) 3-4.”
There was one incident during qualifying. Felix Rosenqvist spun exiting Turn 2, skillfully avoiding the SAFER Barrier and spinning slowly into the tire barrier on the inside of the track, with very light contact to the rear of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Rosenqvist, who will start last in the 26-car field, was unhurt.