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Power On Road America Pole

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 25 2016
Will Power has the pole in Elkhart Lake. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Will Power has the pole in Elkhart Lake. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

RacinToday.com

With team Penske’s Will Power leading the way, Chevrolets captured the top five spots on the starting grid for Sunday’s IndyCar Series race at Road America on Saturday.

The pole was the second of the season for Power. It came on the strength of a lap in 01 minute, 42.2105 seconds (141.379 mph) at the 4-mile track in Elkhart Lake, Wis. It was Power’s first career pole at historic RA and the 44th of his career.

Despite the immense size of the track, Power said traffic was a problem in qualifying.

“It was a session of all traffic,” he said. “Every single run I had was traffic. Took a risk in the second round and got through on used tires and that gave us the best shot at the pole because (Scott) Dixon has been very quick. I am really excited to get pole, I really am. Been kind of a rough start of the year for us, but we are firing on all cylinders now. A lot of guys used new tires on every run, and we were the only one on used. I really had to lay it out. We are going to do everything we can to win this damn race. That is what we have to do.”

Defending series champion Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing qualified second fastest and will start next to Power on the starting grid.

“I think there were just too many mistakes made to get the pole,” Dixon said. “We definitely had the car for the pole. I messed up the last two corners in the Clorox car, which in turn costs us 2-and-a-1/2 tenths and ultimately the pole position today here at Road America. There is massive fan support here, it’s great to be back and I hope we put on a good show for the fans tomorrow.”

Rounding out the top five were Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan, Penske’s points-leader Simon Pagenaud and Penske’s Helio Castroneves.

The only Honda-powered car to advance to the Fast Six in qualifying was that of Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

“We’re surrounded by our championship competitors and the top Honda so it feels good to be in that position,” Rahal said. “We’ve got to improve it a little bit but these guys have worked extremely hard to get us in this position. Yeah it would be nice to be on pole but I didn’t think that we had enough to get that once I saw the times those guys did.

“The 2.5 (1:42.55) I did in Round 2 was just about as good of a lap that I thought I could do. On the last round, we decided to go with new blacks (tires) instead of used reds because maybe used reds will be better tomorrow so I didn’t want to put a second run on them. I thought we could still do a high two on blacks, and we probably could have but I chased throttle extremely hard coming out of Turn 5 and almost looped it so we lost that lap. I haven’t raced on a track this difficult in a long time. It seems like every lap you do, the track gives you a little something different each lap. It’s always a challenge. We need a good win this year and want to get a win for Honda and be the team to get them back in Victory Lane at Road America. It’s a big race for our championship this year. If we can have a good day tomorrow, it could really catapult us up. It’s pretty clear that in this part of the world there is a great amount of support for Indy car racing and it’s awesome to be here.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

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Qualifying Saturday for the KOHLER Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 4.014-mile Road America, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:42.2105 (141.379)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:42.3759 (141.150)
3. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:42.7279 (140.667)
4. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:42.8573 (140.490)
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:42.9449 (140.370)
6. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:43.7782 (139.243)
7. (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:42.7519 (140.634)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:42.8318 (140.525)
9. (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:43.1073 (140.149)
10. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:43.2001 (140.023)
11. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:43.2649 (139.935)
12. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:43.3291 (139.848)
13. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:43.4024 (139.749)
14. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:44.3570 (138.471)
15. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:43.5357 (139.569)
16. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:45.0840 (137.513)
17. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:43.6432 (139.424)
18. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:45.5110 (136.956)
19. (19) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 01:43.6672 (139.392)
20. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 04:19.1862 (55.753)
21. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:43.7289 (139.309)
22. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 04:29.0408 (53.711)

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 25 2016
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