IndyCar St. Pete: Power takes pole, title contenders stumble

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Will Power took his fifth pole position of the year while his championship contending Team Penske-Chevrolet teammate Josef Newgarden could manage only eighth – but ahead of title favorite Scott Dixon.

Power had just enough grip left in his Firestone reds to nail a 61.0369sec lap, and edge Andretti Autosport duo Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta by 0.13 and 0.14sec respectively. It was the 62nd pole of Power’s Indy car racing career and his ninth in 11 years at the 1.8-mile street and runway course at St. Petersburg, FL.

Herta was left disappointed by his run, believing the extra set of fresh reds accrued in Q1 failed to turn on in time for him to outperform Power.

James Hinchcliffe emphasized Andretti Autosport’s return to form with an excellent fourth, ahead of semi-sister car, the Meyer Shank Racing machine of Jack Harvey.

Starting alongside him will be the top Arrow McLaren SP entry of Pato O’Ward.

In Q2, Power set top time on primaries, a 60.8237sec just ahead of O’Ward and Herta. On alternates, Power lowered this to 60.3324, ahead of Herta and O’Ward.

Championship contenders Newgarden and Dixon fell in Q2, Newgarden 0.5352sec off Power’s pace, and Dixon 0.6959 behind. The result leaves Newgarden starting eighth alongside AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet’s Sebastien Bourdais, while Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing and the second Arrow McLaren SP of Oliver Askew – back after missing the Harvest GP due to concussion will fill out the fifth row.

Simon Pagenaud was up with teammate Newgarden in terms of pace, but spun the #22 Penske-Chevy heading into the final turn, and lost his two best laps, dropping him to 12th alongside Dixon.

In Q1 Group 2, Herta looked so strong on blacks, setting a 60.6614sec lap – 0.4sec clear of Power, that when they ducked into the pits to grab a set of alternate tires, Herta did not emerge again. Impressively, his fastest time on primaries withstood alternate-tired runs from VeeKay, Power, and Felix Rosenqvist.

However, Rosenqvist – nursing a fracture in his right hand – lost his two best laps for blocking Alex Palou’s Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh, which Ganassi believed was only on an out lap. Thus Rosenqvist was bumped out of qualifying and initially Palou was put in.

That should have benefited Oliver Askew who missed the cut only by 0.0773sec but he and VeeKay initially also lost their best times for not slowing sufficiently for a yellow flag caused by Max Chilton sliding into the Turn 10 run-off. Thus Palou and Conor Daly in the second ECR-Chevy were promoted into Q2…. But only briefly. A timing and scoring glitch saw the wrong laps deleted, and suddenly Askew and VeeKay were back in, while Palou and Daly were consigned to the back half of the grid. This whole confusion took more than 20mins to sort out.

In Q1 Group 1 losses included the two Rahal Letterman Lanigan cars, Takuma Sato clipping an inside wall but surviving a 130mph off course excursion.

Penske’s IndyCar debutant, three-time Supercars champion McLaughlin got within one second of top time, but ended up 12th and last in the group, admitting he’d made mistakes on his alternate-tired run.

Another surprise exclusion was Ryan Hunter-Reay who had looked strong in morning practice.

 
Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 5 1'01.036     106.165
2 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'01.173 0.136 0.136 105.929
3 United States Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport 3 1'01.181 0.144 0.008 105.914
4 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'01.362 0.325 0.181 105.602
5 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 5 1'01.367 0.330 0.004 105.593
6 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 4 1'01.772 0.735 0.405 104.901

Q2

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 8 1'00.332     107.405
2 United States Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport 7 1'00.368 0.036 0.036 107.340
3 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 7 1'00.618 0.285 0.249 106.899
4 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 7 1'00.626 0.294 0.008 106.884
5 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'00.735 0.403 0.109 106.692
6 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'00.762 0.430 0.027 106.644
7 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 8 1'00.810 0.477 0.047 106.561
8 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 8 1'00.867 0.535 0.057 106.461
9 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 8 1'00.883 0.551 0.016 106.432
10 United States Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP 7 1'00.977 0.644 0.093 106.269
11 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'01.028 0.695 0.051 106.180
12 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 8 1'01.229 0.897 0.201 105.831

Q1 Group 2

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport 5 1'00.661     106.822
2 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 8 1'00.772 0.110 0.110 106.628
3 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 8 1'00.773 0.111 0.000 106.626
4 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 8 1'00.880 0.219 0.107 106.438
5 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 7 1'00.941 0.279 0.060 106.332
6 United States Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP 7 1'01.018 0.357 0.077 106.197
7 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 8 1'01.160 0.499 0.142 105.950
8 Spain Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh 8 1'01.163 0.501 0.002 105.946
9 United States Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 8 1'01.179 0.518 0.016 105.917
10 United States Charlie Kimball United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 7 1'01.242 0.581 0.062 105.809
11 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'01.522 0.861 0.279 105.327
12 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 5 1'21.790 21.129 20.268 79.226

Q1 Group 1

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'00.652     106.838
2 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 7 1'00.731 0.078 0.078 106.700
3 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 8 1'00.743 0.090 0.011 106.679
4 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'00.872 0.219 0.129 106.452
5 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 8 1'00.874 0.222 0.002 106.448
6 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'00.886 0.234 0.011 106.427
7 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 7 1'00.942 0.289 0.055 106.330
8 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'00.961 0.309 0.019 106.296
9 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 8 1'01.145 0.493 0.183 105.976
10 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'01.173 0.520 0.027 105.929
11 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 7 1'01.640 0.988 0.467 105.125
12 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani 7 1'01.683 1.030 0.042 105.053
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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event St. Pete
Author David Malsher-Lopez