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Team Penske Rules Qualifying In St. Pete

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 12 2016
Will Power is on the pole in St. Pete.

Will Power is on the pole in St. Pete.

RacinToday.com

Will Power led Team Penske’s sweep of the top four qualifying spots Saturday at time trials for Sunday’s season-opening IndyCar Series race at the St. Petersburg, Fla. street course.

Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske qualified second fastest, Helio Castroneves third and Juan Pablo Montoya fourth.

Power, who set the track record of 1 minute, 0.6509 of a second (106.841 mph) in 2015 qualifying, toppled the mark in the first segment today with a lap of 1:00.5678 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. He advanced to the Firestone Fast Six with another record-setting lap of 1:00.0658 (107.882 mph) using a new set of Firestone alternate tires.

While he didn’t quite match that effort in the final segment, Power’s lap of 1:00.2450 (107.561 mph) was nearly two-tenths better than anyone else in the Firestone Fast Six and easily good enough to secure the 43rd pole of his career, fifth on the all-time Indy car list. It also led a Team Penske sweep of the first four St. Pete starting positions for the second straight year.

“What a great run today for the Verizon Chevy team,” said Power, who won the St. Pete race in 2010 and 2014. “It’s an awesome feeling to be able to put the new-look Verizon car on pole again here at St. Pete.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling pretty ill all day,” he added. “It was a struggle to get through qualifying, honestly, but we were able to do it and after the Verizon P1 Award presentation I just started feeling a lot worse.

“The car was great today and a big credit to the guys for doing a terrific job in qualifying. I’ll try to get some good rest tonight and come back ready to race on Sunday.”

Defending series champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was fifth.

(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 St Petersburg street circuit, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1.  (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:00.2450 (107.561)
2.  (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:00.4421 (107.210)
3.  (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:00.4995 (107.108)
4.  (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:00.5312 (107.052)
5.  (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:00.5395 (107.038)
6.  (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:00.8803 (106.438)
7.  (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:00.5893 (106.950)
8.  (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:00.6711 (106.805)
9.  (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:00.6724 (106.803)
10.  (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:00.7188 (106.721)
11.  (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:00.9745 (106.274)
12.  (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:01.0571 (106.130)
13.  (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:01.1856 (105.907)
14.  (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:01.0433 (106.154)
15.  (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:01.2417 (105.810)
16.  (19) Luca Filippi, Honda, 01:01.1699 (105.934)
17.  (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:01.5372 (105.302)
18.  (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:01.2934 (105.721)
19.  (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:01.5794 (105.230)
20.  (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:01.3414 (105.638)
21.  (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:01.9385 (104.620)
22.  (16) Spencer Pigot, Honda, 01:01.3881 (105.558)

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 12 2016
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