Castroneves leads Penske 1-2-3 in qualifying

The fourth Team Penske car and championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya will start the 500-miler down in 19th position.

Helio Castroneves has claimed pole position for the fourth time this season and the 46th time in his career, putting down a two-lap average of 220.530mph. 

"The car was just unbelievable - flawless. I didn't lift.

"I was very fortunate to have drawn last (in qualifying order of Team Penske drivers) and was able to collect some information from my boys."

Kimball goes airborne

He had a late draw, going out 21st, but also posted the fastest warmup lap. The only other driver to hit 219 on their warmup was Charlie Kimball, who crashed heavily soon after. Kimball lost control in Turn 3 and went airborne, hitting the fence but escaping mostly unscathed. Click HERE to see video of the accident. 

Fence repairs delayed qualifying for 48 minutes.

"The car was great - it was an interesting run," said Pagenaud. "We had a bit of a lift in Turn 1, missing the balance there a little bit. The car was really good overall though.

"This morning, Turn 3 was difficult because the front was sliding a lot while 1 was great. Then this afternoon, it was the opposite. And we don't know why yet - we need to understand what changed the track so much so we can be ready for tomorrow. The biggest thing is the balance difference between Turn 1 and Turn 3."

Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal rounded out the top five. Rahal, who is just nine points out of the championship lead, was the highest-placing Honda driver in the field. Rahal admitted he was concerned after their rather poor showing in practice and was surprised by the strong qualifying run. "All of sudden, the car really came to life." Scott Dixon will start 11th and comes into this race facing a 34 point deficit.

Where is Montoya?

Montoya was far from happy with his run as he looks to maintain his advantage in the standings. While his three teammates went 1-2-3, the championship leader qualified back in 19th. Afterwards, he claimed that the car "just wouldn't turn." Being a 500-miler, he will have plenty of time to make up for the lost track position. 

In regards to his rivals starting spot, Rahal doubts it will be much of an issue for the Indy 500 champion. "I know he'll be there, right on our heels tomorrow."

James Jakes qualified 15th, but his issues came after his run. He entered pit road and smoke began to ride from underneath the engine cover of his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. He assured that it was "nothing too major" but did note the tough luck his team has had with engines this year.

Stefano Coletti did not take part in the qualifying session due to practice crash and will start from the last row of the grid along with Kimball.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Pocono
Track Pocono Raceway
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske
Article type Qualifying report