INDIANAPOLIS – Not even a pandemic of Biblical proportions can keep Team Penske’s Will Power from winning poles in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Power, a three-time winner of the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, won his fourth pole in the seven-year history of the race on Friday. It was the 58th pole of his career, which leaves him nine behind Mario Andretti’s all-time record for Indy car poles.
Power went out in the closing moments of the Firestone Fast Six to make his pole winning attempt. By the time he completed his final lap around the 2.439-mile, 15-turn IMS road course, he had enough speed to knock Jack Harvey off the pole.
Power’s fast lap at 1:10.1779. Harvey’s fast time in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda was 1:10.3653.
“It was a very tight qualifying session all around,” Power said. “We had really good speed from the beginning. I took a little bit of a risk pulling in in the second round. I had the team calling me. I laid a lap down, I thought it’s probably going to stick.
“That gave me a chance to get Oliver Askew because it was just one lap on tires. Jack had done a couple of those, so he had some pretty good sets there. So I saved that for the last run of the Fast Six.
“It was tough, man. I gave everything I could. I hustled that car as best I could. “I knew Jack would lay down a really quick one. I was really stoked to get pole.”
Harvey’s fast time in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda was 1:10.3653.
“It was Will Power doing Will Powery things,” Harvey said after losing the pole to one of the best qualifiers in IndyCar history. “I thought it was a really great day for us. Good recovery from Texas and whatnot. We went well here last year. Everybody at Meyer Shank Racing has been working so hard, as all the teams are. Really working hard to try to arrive with a little more pace than we did last year, one position better.
“Probably to check into the best single-lap qualifier I’ve ever watched. Yeah, there’s no disappointment in anyone today. We were thrilled to be on the front row for the first time. I think we have pace on blacks, pace on reds. Hopefully we’ll be competitive tomorrow. For now we’ll enjoy this and get ready to zone in for the race.”
Second-year driver Colton Herta was third in a Honda at 1:10.5197 Graham Rahal was fourth in another Honda at 1:10.5844. Rookie driver Oliver Askew of Arrow McLaren SP was fifth at 1:10.8404.
“I have a lot of experience around here, probably the most experience at this track than any other track we go to this year,” said Askew, the 2019 Indy Lights champion. “I thought it was important for us to roll out of the gate with a good car and I think we did. It was in the window right away. I knew we had a shot at having a good qualifying.
“We made a couple of changes between practice and quallie. Yeah, the car was just on rails. The goal was to get out of Q1, and the rest was just going to be gravy.
“I’m really happy with the car. I think once we were P1 in Q2, I realized that we could really have a shot at pole here. I wish we were able to put on a new set of reds in Q3. That was the first time experiencing a heat cycle on reds. It’s quite a bit different.
“I’m really happy to be in the top six at the end. I think it’s a great day for everyone at Arrow McLaren SP and Chevy. Looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can have another good one like we did in Texas, maybe a little bit better.”
Team Penske two-time champion Josef Newgarden will start sixth after he ran off course in turn 13 on his fast lap. Officially, he did not post a time in the Fast Six session.
Askew was the fastest driver in the first group in session one with a time at 1:10.5306. Power was the fastest driver in the second group at 1:10.2548.
Askew was the fastest driver in round two at 1:09.8780, just ahead of Harvey at 1:10.0238.
Scott Dixon barely missed advancing into the Fast Six at 1:10.1990 in a Honda, while Newgarden was the last driver to advance into the Fast Six at 1:10.1420.
IndyCar has a warmup Saturday from 9-9:30 a.m. ET with the GMR Grand Prix on NBC at noon ET.