Will Power ties Mario Andretti for most all-time poles

Will Power put his Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet on pole in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, tying Mario Andretti for most all-time IndyCar poles with 67.

With a two-lap average of 182.727 he cleared his championship rivals and Team Penske teammates for the top spot for Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway and secured his fourth pole of the season.

Will Power qualifying (Photo by Sean Birkle/Penske Entertainment)

Power received the complementary bonus point for securing pole, giving him a now seven point championship lead over Scott Dixon with just three race remaining.

Speaking to NBC Power said: “This is a big victory for me, to reach the 67 number and equal such a legend of the sport in Mario Andretti. I just can’t believe that I’m right there with Mario because there’s been no one like him.”

It could very well have been Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden who would have taken his second pole of the season but a mistake in turns three and four on lap one causing him to downshift, meant he had to settle for only third with a two-lap average of 181.629.

On the radio Newgarden said, “I goofed the first one” and later said to NBC “I wish I could have a redo.”

Josef Newgarden discussing qualifying with his team (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Joining Power on the front row is 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson who also broke the 182mph mark with a 182.070 two-lap average after using all of the race track to do it.

Marcus Ericsson out on track (Photo by James Black/Penske Entertainment)

Power’s other teammate Scott McLaughlin qualified fourth. Ericsson’s teammates Palou and Dixon qualified fifth and sixth respectively.

It proved to be a frustrating qualifying for Arrow McLaren SP with Felix Rosenqvist spinning out on his qualifying attempt while Pato O’Ward felt he was too conservate on his.

Rosenqvist spun coming out of turn two on lap one in an effort to keep his car off the wall, and ended up tagging the inside tyre barrier before coming to a stop.

O’Ward qualified seventh with is first lap holding him back to a two-lap average of 180.303.

Takuma Sato impressively qualified eighth after the 2019 winner of the race, used up all of the race track saying he “had to pedal it” due to experiencing oversteer.

Takuma Sato qualifying (Photo by Sean Birkle/Penske Entertainment)

Romain Grosjean was the best of the Andretti Autosport cars qualifying ninth, continuing his good record at the track after a strong IndyCar oval debut at WWT Raceway last year.

Grosjean however has to take a nine-place grid penalty for Saturday’s race due to an unapproved engine change and will consequently start 18th.

A happy Romain Grosjean sat on the pit wall (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Andretti teammate Devlin DeFrancesco left off from where he did in practice and qualified 10th. Alexander Rossi qualified 11th. The last of the Andretti crew Colton Herta, had to contend with a wiggle in turns three and four on his qualifying run, resulting in a 12th starting spot.

The field of cars lined up on pit road readying to go out to qualify (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

The Ed Carpenter Racing cars were uncharacteristically slow, with Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter qualifying 16th, 23rd and 25th respectively with Carpenter saying he was not happy with the setup of the car.

Jimmie Johnson only managed 21st after putting it down to needing more track time since he had not raced at the track since 2002 in the NASCAR Xfinity series, whereas at Texas and Iowa he had more experience and time to adjust to the track.

Jimmie Johnson out on track during practice (Photo by James Black/Penske Entertainment)

Full qualifying results: 1st Will Power, 2nd Marcus Ericsson, 3rd Josef Newgarden, 4th Scott McLaughlin, 5th Álex Palou, 6th Scott Dixon, 7th Pato O’Ward, 8th Takuma Sato, 9th Romain Grosjean, 10th Devlin DeFrancesco, 11th Alexander Rossi, 12th Colton Herta, 13th David Malukas, 14th Simon Pagenaud, 15th Jack Harvey, 16th Conor Daly, 17th Graham Rahal, 18th Hélio Castroneves, 19th Christian Lundgaard, 20th Kyle Kirkwood, 21st Jimmie Johnson, 22nd Callum Ilott, 23rd Rinus VeeKay, 24th Dalton Kellett, 25th Ed Carpenter, 26th Felix Rosenqvist.

Will Power and Marcus Ericsson will  lead the field to green for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at WWT Raceway flies Saturday at 6pm ET. 

Featured Image: Will Power celebrates earning the P1 Pole Award with his crew (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

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