Penske’s Will Power took his first IndyCar pole position of the season and his sixth at the Indianapolis road course in what has been an epic start to his season.
Reigning champion Alex Palou – seemingly the only Chip Ganassi Racing driver able to manhandle its car into a competitive position – held the pole for much of the Firestone Fast Six.
But while all the cars sat on pitlane, Power squirmed and weaved his way to an almighty effort to steal his maiden 2022 pole, the fifth different polesitter in as many races this year. Power hasn’t finished worse than fourth so far in five races.
It’s Power’s 64th IndyCar pole, three off Mario Andretti’s record.
Palou held on to start second, ahead of Josef Newgarden who had to have a clutch change in final practice, but every time he’s met with adversity this year the two-time winner seems to rebound.
Conor Daly claimed fourth position at a track he often pops into the top 10, even as his Ed Carpenter team-mate Rinus VeeKay went out early on.
The Arrow McLaren SP cars of Pato O’Ward (fifth) and Felix Rosenqvist just behind looked strong all qualifying but weren’t able to extract better laps in the heat of the moment late on.
Callum Ilott gave the Juncos Hollinger Racing one-car team another splendid result with a best start of 7th as the road course run has yielded big results for the squad.
He narrowly missed out on the Fast Six, but beat Rahal Letterman Lanigan duo Christian Lundgaard – fourth on his debut In qualifying last year here – and Jack Harvey.
Romain Grosjean was the top Andretti car in 10th ahead of Scott McLaughlin, but all eyes will be directly behind Grosjean, on Graham Rahal, who said he may retaliate when racing wheel to wheel with Grosjean after their clash at Barber.
McLaughlin’s loss compared to his Penske team-mates was a small error on the all-important first lap of the soft tyres.
Colton Herta was the first driver not to make it to the round of 12 and fell out of the first group.
The Andretti driver is one of IndyCar’s best qualifiers but struggled to make it by over a tenth, saying “we weren’t fast at all”.
Rinus VeeKay was absolutely baffled at the fact he thought his car balance was good, but the Barber polesitter last time out and last year’s race winner at this event didn’t make it out of the first group and starts 15th.
Alexander Rossi was another struggler in 16th behind Veekay, after struggling like Herta did in the second group to start qualifying.
Scott Dixon’s third successive qualifying result outside of the top 12 has him starting 21st, as he said he felt every time he goes out of the pits his car is different, and that it’s “horrendous” to start that far back amid struggles with the #9 team.
His team-mate Marcus Ericsson also struggled, starting marginally ahead of Dixon in 18th.
The bonus for the drivers not graduating is that they will have an extra set of soft tyres to use in the race, which is likely to be even more crucial in Saturday’s race because the anticipation is it will be a race that relies on those tyres.
However, forecast rain could impact that.
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