Montoya soars to Pocono pole

Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power will share the front row for the IndyCar race at Pocono.

Long Pond, Pa. – Juan Pablo Montoya was the 22nd and final driver to go out in Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying at Pocono Raceway, and he came away with the pole position for Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 500, setting a new one and two-lap track records in doing so.

The new one –lap standard is 223.920 miles per hour, and the new two-lap record is 223.871 mph. The previous two-lap mark of 221.273 mph and was set by Marco Andretti a year ago.

In total, 11 drivers exceeded the track record.

Driving the PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, Montoya earned his first pole since returning to the series this year and for his IndyCar career, he claimed his 15th pole. His most recent pole came at Gateway (St. Louis) in 2000.

Said the pole winner, “I had no idea what to expect, but his morning we had a good car in race trim. When we first trimmed the car, it was awful, so we made quite a bit of changes for qualifying, and it turned out to be good. The car was a bit of a handful in Turn 3, but it was good through Turn 1. The big thing here is you have to be wide open in Turn 1 and if so, it pays off.

“The big thing for us was balance, and we had a hell of a balance. By running late and if you have good teammates, you can see how much they struggled and you can adjust your car. Will (Power) went out ahead of me, and he told us he did this and that, so I knew before I started where to go. Will and Helio (Castroneves) were more trimmed out than I was.

Power was a tick of the clock slower at 223.725 mph in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. He went out four spots ahead of Montoya and held the provisional pole until his teammate topped him.

“I probably lifted a little too much in Turn 1,” Power said. “I knew Montoya was going to be tough to beat. They ran a little more downforce.”

Carlos Munoz put one of four Andretti Autosport Honda’s in the third-fastest slot with Takuma Sato timing fourth fastest in another Honda. Row three qualifiers were two more Andretti drivers, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe.

Castroneves and Ton Kanaan were seventh and eighth fastest with 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe rounding out the top-10 qualifiers.

Of the top-10 qualifiers, five had Chevrolet-powered cars and five were in Honda-powered cars. 2013 Pocono winner Scott Dixon qualified 15th fastest. Josef Newgarden crashed while qualifying, and he will start 21st.

Rookie Jack Hawksworth crashed the Integrity Energee Drink Honda in practice and was unable to qualify. However, his crew will either repair his car or rollout a back-up car. Hawksworth made hard impact with the Turn 1 SAFER Barrier. After being taken to the medical center, he was checked, released and cleared to drive.

Said the Brit, “We had just put tires on and went into Turn 1 and picked up a big over-steer, and it took us out and I went into the wall. If I thought I was going to stick it into the wall, I would have thought I would have been in Turn 3.”

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Pocono
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske
Article type Qualifying report
Tags indycar, juan pablo montoya, penske, pocono, will power