LEXINGTON, Ohio – Will Power kicked his recent bad luck to the curb by winning the pole for the NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 on Saturday afternoon at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Power’s fast time of 1:05.1569 for a speed of 124.757 mph was the 57th NTT IndyCar Series pole in Power’s career.
When told that he was first, Power let out a wicked scream that could be heard over his radio communication.
“I was sticking it to the year,” Power said. “There you go. Take that one off me.
“I literally nailed every sector. Yeah, wasn’t a sector… I’d be surprised if there was a sector that I wasn’t P1 in. If there is, I’d be really disappointed.
“After the year we’ve had, even the last couple of weeks we’ve had, it’s been bloody terrible. Couple mistakes by me. Very determined to get pole here. I’m equally so to win the race.
“I’m just happy. I think it beats you down a bit when you have constant bad runs, things just don’t flow your way. Mistakes by myself, that sort of thing, so…
“There’s always a turning point. That’s the good news. When you have a bad race, the good news is there’s a good chance the next one will be good. If that’s no good, the next one will be good. If 10 of them, like mine, haven’t been good, the next one is definitely going to be good.”
Power’s performance denied Alexander Rossi a perfect day. Earlier on Saturday, Andretti Autosport announced Rossi had signed a contract extension to stay with the team for at least the next three years. The team also extended its contract with Honda for the next four years.
Rossi had just completed two increasingly fast laps with his fast time of 1:05.5317 (124.044 mph), putting him on the pole as the checkered flag waved.
Power was still on the track, however, and when he was the last car to turn in a timed lap, it was the fastest.
“I think ultimately we came up short, through Will just got pretty clever there, did two laps on a set of tires, but didn’t push on the first lap,” Rossi said. “He had I think a bit longer tire life. Good job to them.
“I think our car is really good. I think it’s probably the strongest car on the primary tire, which is obviously good for tomorrow. We’ll have to go out and try and get the lead early and see what we can do from there.”
Team Penske’s other two drivers were third and fourth with Josef Newgarden’s 1:05.7885 (123.560 mph) and Simon Pagenaud’s 1:05.7885 (123.358 mph), respectively.
Sebastien Bourdais was fifth at 1:06.2040 (122.784 mph) with rookie Felix Rosenqvist’s Honda rounding out the Fast Six at 1:06.4914 (122.253 mph).
“I thought we definitely would have it based at that point based on what guys did on their first run,” Rossi said of his fast time. “The car was great. We were on for a similar lap. I had a pretty big slide in turn four and five. I think we just ran out of tire. We’ll have to look at that.
“You’re always disappointed if you miss it by one or two hundredths because there’s a lot of things you can look back on the lap, things you could have done differently. Once there’s a gap of that size, it’s okay.”
Power will be looking for his first victory of the season when the field takes the green flag on Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“It’s just typical of me,” Power said. “I just want to win. I just think you can’t think about winning, honestly. That may have been my mistake the last few races. You get a bit desperate to get a win.
“You just got to take what it gives you simply. You just can’t make those little mistakes at the end of races like I have the last two weeks.”