LEXINGTON, Ohio – There’s another driver closing in on one of Mario Andretti’s all-time Indy car records, and it’s not Scott Dixon.
Team Penske’s Will Power won the 60th pole of his NTT IndyCar Series career Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leaving him seven poles short of Andretti’s record of 67. Power’s No. 12 Chevrolet took the fast time out of the first group with a lap at 1:06.3343 around 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course for a speed of 122.543 mph.
It was Power’s fifth pole at Mid-Ohio, but the Team Penske driver has never won there.
Power will lead the field to the green flag Saturday evening in the first race of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
The NBCSN telecast begins at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time with the race taking the green flag at 5 p.m. ET.
“I was very pleased,” Power said. “It’s always good to see the Verizon No. 12 Chevrolet at the front. It’s a very slippery track. It takes rubber a lot over the session so at the beginning it was really slippery. The car felt good.
“Man, I just want to have a great race. That’s all I care about. Every weekend, you have to execute on all fronts – me as a driver, on the strategy and pit stops. That’s how you win races. And, if a lucky yellow falls my way. That’s how it’s been this year. We’ll have to put the full effort in.”
Power will start alongside Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, the fastest in group two at 1:06.7287 (121.819 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda.
“The car was light on grip before we went to the Reds,” Hunter-Reay said. “The car never really came in. I’m surprised by that. Potentially, that Road to Indy rubber may have benefitted the first group because they were quicker.
“The only thing you can think of when you compare it to practice is the first group went out on different rubber.”
Dixon, a six-time winner at Mid-Ohio, had an issue with his car and tire combination in his session and will start 17th after a lap at 1:07.1406 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon is two victories short of Andretti’s 52 career wins, second on the all-time list.
“It’s going to be interesting starting that far back,” Dixon said. “We’ll have to catch a caution of some sort. I think it was just us and the tires. I can’t figure out how we were going to quicker on Blacks than we did on Reds.”
Josef Newgarden of Team Penske starts third in the No. 1 PPG Chevrolet at 1:06.5508 (121.144 mph) followed by Conor Daly’s No. 20 Chevrolet at 1:06.8761 (121.550 mph) with Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Honda rounding out the top five at 1:06.7690 (121.745 mph).
Alexander Rossi starts sixth at 1:07.1856 (120.990 mph) in the No. 27 NAPA Honda.