Power: Fast Nine shot for Indy 500 qualifying will require luck

2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power is not optimistic that his Team Penske-Chevrolet has the pace to qualify for the first three rows of the grid for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Power: Fast Nine shot for Indy 500 qualifying will require luck

Although all the Penske drivers have been positive about their raceday pace and handling over the past two days, with the engines turned up to 1.5-bar boost for today (Fast Friday) and the qualifying sessions, it appears Honda has a marked advantage over Chevrolet.

Conor Daly of Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy finished the day in second and Power was in 14th but their no-tow rankings – laps without the aid of a draft from a car ahead – were only 27th and 21st respectively. Fastest Chevy entry without the aid of a tow was the AJ Foyt Racing entry of Charlie Kimball in 10th.

Penske’s poor first-run form today saw them trim out further to offset any power disadvantage but that left all four of them – Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves – suffering alarming moments, that were inevitably accentuated as the track heated up.

With several people expecting increasing track temperatures will ensure that drivers’ first qualifying runs will be their fastest and that early runners will have an advantage, Power – who runs 10th – believes it will require a degree of good fortune to make it through to Sunday’s Fast Nine shootout for pole position.

“It's obviously going to be very tough to make it in the top nine because there's so many fast cars,” he commented. “I think we're just on the cusp there. I think maybe our strength is the consistency over four laps. Hopefully that really matters throughout tomorrow. But, yeah, still working it through, still trying to think about how we can make it really count tomorrow…

“I don't think we have that ultimate speed of some of the Honda cars. We have a consistent car… It's just going to be real interesting tomorrow when everyone is in the same condition with no cars on track, no tow, to see where we truly do stack up.

“My feeling is that we'll be lucky to get in the top nine. That's how I feel. I think there's just a lot of fast cars out there right now. I think the only thing on our side is maybe we can hold a lap time longer. That's the saving grace…

“Seriously, after the first run, I don't think it's going to get any quicker. If you're out of the top nine then, you really don't have a good shot of getting in. The first run really counts. If you drew in the first 10, you're in pretty good shape I feel like – especially for us who are just trying to crack into the top nine.

“Getting 10th, I was really happy about that. You go in the first 45 minutes, a little bit of rubber on the track, obviously a teammate [Newgarden] will go before I go. I have a little bit of an indication. So, yeah, it's a good spot to give us the best chance to get in.”

Power has scored 58 pole positions in his IndyCar career, second only to Mario Andretti, but none of them were for the Indy 500. He has, however, started from Indy's front row on four occasions, and only once in the last 10 years has he started lower than sixth.

shares
comments
Indy 500 Practice: Andretti stays top on Fast Friday

Previous article

Indy 500 Practice: Andretti stays top on Fast Friday

Next article

Indy 500 Qualifying: Andretti Autosport, Honda rule in first runs

Indy 500 Qualifying: Andretti Autosport, Honda rule in first runs
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021