With rain in the forecast for Saturday afternoon, Will Power knew it would be imperative to qualify near the front and manage the pace of what should be a wet Race No. 1 in the Dual in Detroit.
That’s exactly what the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion did, posting a best lap of 1:16.0941 to win the pole for the first of two races on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn street course on Belle Isle Park in South Michiagan.
Belle Isle is a home race for Team Penske and its drivers responded by placing all four cars in the top five. Helio Castroneves qualified second, followed by recently crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya. Takuma Sato posted the surprise run of qualifying, taking his AJ Foyt-owned Honda to fourth on the grid with Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais rounding out the Firestone Fast Six.
For Power, it was his 39th career Indy car pole, placing him just one behind team consultant Rick Mears for fifth on the all-time list. With that said, Power is focused on track position and the here and now.
“I had new tires and was pushing hard because they said Helio and Juan were pretty close,” Power said of his final and fastest lap. “It’s the pole but it’s a long race around here. Once again, it’s about battling the teammates around here as we have all year. It’s been a great weekend and a really good start.
“We will try and keep ourselves out of trouble and see what magic we can do tomorrow.”
Power won Race 1 in Detroit last season and was the runner-up to Castronevers in Race No. 2, a major and under-looked aspect of his first career championship. That was especially true considering that Castroneves has been a master at Belle Isle, winning here three times, and again looking like a contender for the win.
“The most important thing is the race,” Castroneves said. “It was a good battle between me, Will and the rest of Team Penske. Let’s go for tomorrow and see what happens.”
In same-day qualifications for Race 2, all cars will participate in one of two groups for 12 minutes each. The pole position will be awarded to the best overall lap time in both sessions.
The remainder of the cars from the polesitter’s qualifying group will occupy the odd-numbered positions on the starting grid, ranked by lap time, beginning with third. Even-numbered starting positions will be filled by the other group, ranked by lap time, starting with second.
One point will be awarded to entrant and driver with the fastest time in each qualifying group.
- Will Power
- Helio Castroneves
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Takuma Sato
- Simon Pagenaud
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Scott Dixon
- Stefano Coletti
- Marco Andretti
- James Jakes
- Tristan Vautier
- Sage Karam
- Graham Rahal
- Jack Hawksworth
- Tony Kanaan
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Charlie Kimball
- Josef Newgarden
- Luca Filippi
- Carlos Munoz
- Conor Daly
- Rodalfo Gonzalez
- Gabby Chaves
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