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Power Claims Pole In St. Pete

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 28 2015

Will Power rolled to the pole in St. Pete on Saturday. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

Defending champion Will Power opened the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series by winning the pole for Sunday’s race in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Team Penske driver earned the pole by breaking the 13-year-old track record with a lap of 1:00:6509 seconds in the second session on Saturday.

Power will be seeking his third career win at St. Petersburg on Sunday.

Qualifying second fastest was Power’s new teammate, Simon Pagenaud.

“I’m super happy to be honest,” Pagenaud said. “It’s incredible to start this way with Team Penske. We have a lot of pace. The car is fantastic. Thanks to everyone for searching and developing so much. The 22 crew is brand new and is doing a great job. It’s fantastic to be a part of the Penske family. I’m really proud. Today was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed qualifying.”

Pagenaud was .0321 of a second behind Pagenaud in the Firestone Fast Six to qualify second.

Team Penske drivers also qualified third and fourth.

Helio Castroneves, the only three-time winner at St. Petersburg, qualified third (1:00.8356) and Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth (1:00.8532).

“That just shows the work we did over the winter,” Power said of Team Penske. “It’s four good drivers who will battle it out tomorrow.”

Takuma Sato of A.J. Foyt Racing qualified fifth and was the top Honda-powered driver.

Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the Fast Six qualifying field.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Qualifying Saturday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.8 mile(s) St. Petersburg street circuit, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:00.6931 (106.767)

2. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Chevy, 01:00.7252 (106.710)

3. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 01:00.8356 (106.517)

4. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 01:00.8532 (106.486)

5. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.1496 (105.970)

6. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.1545 (105.961)

7. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.1182 (106.024)

8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.1670 (105.939)

9. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.2285 (105.833)

10. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.2478 (105.800)

11. (25) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.3657 (105.596)

12. (27) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.4765 (105.406)

13. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.5727 (105.241)

14. (26) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.4890 (105.385)

15. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.5742 (105.239)

16. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.5780 (105.232)

17. (4) Stefano Coletti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.6727 (105.071)

18. (8) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.8011 (104.853)

19. (20) Luca Filippi, Dallara-Chevy, 01:01.6736 (105.069)

20. (7) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.8323 (104.800)

21. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.0095 (104.500)

22. (98) Gabby Chaves, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.9705 (104.566)

23. (19) Francesco Dracone, Dallara-Honda, 01:04.2654 (100.832)

24. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.9716 (104.564)

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 28 2015
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