Will Power

Today’s question: Who will win the NTT P1 Award on Sunday as the pole sitter for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge?

Curt Cavin: I think Scott McLaughlin will win the pole with that yellow-car connection to Rick Mears, who was the fastest qualifier for this event six times in his career. But I’m picking Will Power because he deserves to have an Indy 500 pole after piling up a record number of poles – 70 – at other NTT INDYCAR SERIES races. It’s incredible that Will hasn’t won a pole here. He’s started on the front four times (2010, 2014, 2015 and 2018) and won the race in ‘18. So, I’d like him to get one of these top qualifying spots once in his career. Hopefully, Sunday is the day. For the record, Power thinks Josef Newgarden has the strongest Team Penske car. We’ll see.

Eric Smith: Like Curt, I have to side with Will Power. He called this shot a month ago at Long Beach. “I feel like one of our cars have a great shot at pole, if not all on the front row,” Power said on April 20. Fast Friday, on May 17, Penske was third (Josef Newgarden), fourth (Scott McLaughlin) and sixth (Will Power) on the single-lap speed chart. On no-tow speed, Newgarden, McLaughlin and Power were 1-2-4, respectively. On the four-lap averages, they were 1-2-3. Despite Power being third of three on all metrics among the Penske camp, he nailed the prediction of a potential front row sweep, so why not nail picking himself?

Paul Kelly: The speed chart doesn’t lie, and Team Penske looked beyond stout during qualifying sims on “Fast Friday,” with Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin and Will Power taking the top three spots in four-lap trials. So, I’ll walk out on a 2-inch limb and say a Penske car will earn the top spot for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the record-extending 19th Indy 500 pole and its first since Simon Pagenaud in 2019. I’ll take Scott McLaughlin as the Penske driver atop the Scoring Pylon at 6 p.m. ET Sunday. Scotty Mac was second fastest in qual sims at 233.623 mph Friday, and I think he’ll put the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet “Yellow Submarine” on the pole just like Rick Mears did in 1986, 1988 and 1989 for three of his record six poles. McLaughlin has been around Indianapolis long enough to know what he needs for speed, and that will be enough to edge his teammates for the top spot.