“The history of this joint isn’t lost on anybody. It’s a race we all look forward to being part of one everybody wants to win because it’s so different. It would be awesome to add your name to a list like that.”
Andretti won his first career pole at Milwaukee in 2008 and won the pole for the 2012 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“I have to credit Ryan Hunter-Reay for upping my game and having the luxury to go up against his data and see where I’ve been lacking,” Andretti said.
Will Power of Team Penske was third with a two-lap average of 170.212 mph.
“I was worried because Helio Castroneves was so loose on his run but I had a good run,” Power said. “We have a good race car. After Texas we were all driving it and that was great because whoever drove the best last week was going to win. You had to drive that thing. It will be similar here where the tires go off and you have to manage the tires and the car. The Andretti guys are the ones to beat every weekend and it’s the same here. It’s a long race and we know those guys will be bloody strong but we’ll keep chipping away.”
Hunter-Reay was fourth with a two-lap average of 170.100 mph. He is the defending winner of this race, which was the first of three-straight race victories for the driver who would on to win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship in 2012.
“We got a little bit too carried away trying to free up the car because that is where the lap time is here,” Hunter-Reay said. “We just missed pole last year by a small amount. It was better to be conservative. We missed the pole by just a little bit today. The car was loose and we’ll have to keep it off the wall on Saturday. It’s always great to be at Milwaukee. The racing is always intense here and it’s a killer show.”
E.J. Viso rounded out the top five for Andretti Autosport with a two-lap average of 169.828 mph.
The top seven cars in qualifications were powered by Chevrolet engines. Second-year driver Josef Newgarden was the highest Honda driver with a two-lap average of 169.462 mph and starts eighth.
Target/Chip Ganassi Racing missed the mark with Scott Dixon qualifying 11th at 168.820 mph in a Dallara/Honda and four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti way back in 17th place at 167.263 mph in another Dallara/Honda.
“We didn’t think we would see such a jump in speeds,” Dixon said. “We have a little bit of work to do. I think the race car is decent over a long stint so we will have to see how it stacks up over 250 laps.”
Graham Rahal starts 23rd and continues to struggle and Simona De Silvestro starts last in the 24-car field.
Also on Friday, Sage Karam earned his second consecutive Sunoco Pole Award with a two-lap average speed of 146.798 mph in qualifications for the Firestone Indy Lights Milwaukee 100 on Saturday.