Power scores eighth pole of season at Sonoma

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Power scores eighth pole of season at Sonoma

Will Power continued his dominant performance in qualifying, earning his record-setting eighth IZOD IndyCar Series pole of the season. He is joined on the front row by his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves. Will Power, Team ...

Will Power continued his dominant performance in qualifying, earning his record-setting eighth IZOD IndyCar Series pole of the season. He is joined on the front row by his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

Will Power, Team Penske.
Photo by Bob Heathcote.

"I wasn't sure I was going to pull it off in the second round of qualifying," said Power, referring to the fact that he nearly missed the Fast Six competition. "I was two-tenths off," near the end of the session.

Power noted that his team is entertaining a large group from Verizon this weekend. "I'm really stoked to get the Verizon team a record eight poles this season. It is important that we start up front here."

Speeds increased dramatically from practice to qualifying. Scott Dixon was fastest in practice with a lap at 77.4312 seconds. Power's pole time was 76.5282 seconds. While Dixon made a marginal improvement in his practice time and will start sixth, Power knocked more than a second from his best practice time.

Castroneves, who is making his fourth front row appearance this year, said his car was very consistent. "We made some incredible changes and made great gains from yesterday."

After being told he was P2, Castroneves said he didn't want to take any chances and end up losing his best time. "I only had one lap and the tires were already a little bit shot. Good job to Team Penske to sweep the front row. Now we need to be there at the end."

Dario Franchitti, who is looking to cut into Will Power's 42 point lead in the championship, will start third. "We're definitely going to try to get (Will) tomorrow," Franchitti said. "He's did a great job in qualifying. There's no doubt about it. The Target car was probably a 95 percent car today. I think I left a half a tenth on the table myself with a slight mistake. We'll see what we have tomorrow, but I'm disappointed with third today."

Alex Tagliani, who had never driven on the Infineon Raceway until yesterday, qualified fourth. Despite the great result, especially when other teams tested at Infineon last week, Tagliani thought he left something on the table.

"With the tires the way they are, you only have about one lap," Tagliani reported. "The tires we had on the car, we used in the second segment and I missed Turn 3 by a little bit (on my flying lap). The car pushed and I missed 3A. That was the lap. The second lap was good, but it was not as good as the first lap could have been."

Ryan Briscoe drove his Team Penske entry to a fifth place qualifying position. "I'm pretty happy to be in the Fast Six. P5 is pretty good result for us. We're struggling with the balance and the tires and the wind gusts. It was difficult to get a clean lap. I feel good starting where we are, and hopefully we can get the team Penske car up to the front."

Justin Wilson was knocked from the Fast Six competition by Will Power and will start seventh.

Ryan Hunter-Reay will start eighth and his Andretti Autosport teammate Tony Kanaan will start ninth.

Hunter-Reay said, "We were so far off yesterday that we changed everything in the IZOD car for today and started fresh. So, we really only had one practice session under our belts and I think that was the difference today. We were close, but the road course competition is ridiculous right now. Tomorrow is going to be a great race. We're starting eighth; we can work from there."

Raphael Matos rounded out the top ten.

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Series INDYCAR