Will Power Claims to Pole at Pocono, Ties Foyt on All-Time Poles List
Power could become the first driver to earn three consecutive wins at the famous triangle.
Team Penske's Will Power must be on cloud nine after clinching his 53rd career pole at Pocono Raceway and matching the legendary A.J. Foyt on IndyCar's all-time pole positions list.
The Australian Ace delivered a top-notch performance at Pocono's challenging triangle oval, which features three unique corners that add a pinch of excitement to Indycar's already diverse racetrack portfolio. Power sustained a two-lap average speed of 219.511 miles per hour which put him ahead of his Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, who lapped considerably slower at 218.802 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile "tri-oval." A nearly one-miles-per-hour difference may not sound like much to the average person, but that kind of disparity between two sister cars isn't exactly a common occurrence at Team Penske.
"I think we did a good job with the setup, it's just that's about what we had, speed-wise," said Newgarden in regard to his qualifying speed. "The guys did a good job. We get a one-two lock-out on the front row. That's good. We can't be disappointed. We'll have the Verizon car and the Hitachi car up there. I think that's what we had. I'm pretty happy with our run. That was our speed."
Sitting right behind the Penske duo for tomorrow's 500-mile race is Alexander Rossi, who will be more than ready to cash in if the frontrunners get tangled up while fighting for the lead. The Andretti Autosport star was right behind Newgarden in terms of speed, with a two-lap average of 218.758 miles per hour. And with a recent win at Mid-Ohio where Rossi led 66 out of 90 laps, the young American will be more than energized to shrink the 46-point gap that separates him from the championship leader Scott Dixon.
Speaking of Dixon, his hopes for an easy Sunday were evaporated after he failed to find the right balance on his Chip Ganassi PNC Bank Honda, with a combination of understeer and suspension troubles costing him precious speed around the famous track. At the end of the day, Dixon could only manage a two-lap average of 216.410 miles per hour, which was only good for 13th place on the grid.
"I think we were a little surprised with the understeer in the car, to be honest," said Dixon. "Turn 3 I was flat and then we'd struggle on the exit of Turn 1. The car bottomed out somewhat there in the first lap, so I'm not sure what happened."
Tomorrow's 500-mile race will bring many variables that will surely shuffle most of the field throughout the course of the race, but track temperatures and tire degradation will be the two main ones to watch closely. If Power is able to climb to the top step of the podium on Sunday, he will become the first driver in 40 years to win three consecutive 500-mile races since Al Unser claimed the 1978 Triple Crown with victories at Indianapolis, Pocono and the now-defunct Ontario Speedway in California.