Team Penske sweeps top four spots in St. Pete qualifying

Will Power kicks off 2015 where he left off in 2014 ... On top.

Team Penske sweeps top four spots in St. Pete qualifying
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Although it’s not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was great hearing “It’s a new track record!” as Will Power managed to blaze his way around the 1.8 mile track on the Streets of St. Petersburg to pole position for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The old track record of 1:00.928 set in 2003 went down in the second group of round one as Will Power managed to pull off a lap of 1:00.8344 seconds, which went down even further in the second round of qualifying with a lap record of 1:00.6509.

Penske train

However, in the final round of qualifying, Power was able to secure the pole with a lap of 1:00.6931 ahead of teammates Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya. Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda in fifth while 2003 St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais qualified sixth.

The first round of qualifying saw Dale Coyne Racing’s Francesco Dracone and Carlos Huertas make up the back row of the grid while Jack Hawksworth, Luca Filippi, Stefano Coletti, Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball being eliminated in group 1 taking up the odd grid positions from 21st to 13th. The even positions from 22nd to 14th were eliminated in group 2, and they’re filled by Gabby Chaves, James Jakes, Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Carlos Munoz.

After the first round of qualifying ended, the second round began with lap times dropping left and right. By the end of the session, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simona de Silvestro and Marco Andretti were looking at starting 7th through 12th, respectively. Despite an officials’ review of a small blocking situation between four drivers, the fast six remained as they originally occurred.

The race starts at 3:30 PM ET tomorrow.

Pos   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Gap 
1 Will Power Dallara/Chevrolet 1'00.6931 -
2 Simon Pagenaud Dallara/Chevrolet 1'00.7252 0.0321
3 H.Castroneves Dallara/Chevrolet 1'00.8356 0.1425
4 J.P.Montoya Dallara/Chevrolet 1'00.8532 0.1601
5 Takuma Sato Dallara/Honda 1'01.1496 0.4565
6 S.Bourdais Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.1545 0.4614
7 Tony Kanaan Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.1182 0.4251
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara/Honda 1'01.1670 0.4739
9 Scott Dixon Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.2285 0.5354
10 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.2478 0.5547
11 S.de Silvestro Dallara/Honda 1'01.3657 0.6726
12 Marco Andretti Dallara/Honda 1'01.4765 0.7834
13 Charlie Kimball Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.5727 0.8796
14 Carlos Muñoz Dallara/Honda 1'01.4890 0.7959
15 Graham Rahal Dallara/Honda 1'01.5742 0.8811
16 J.Hinchcliffe Dallara/Honda 1'01.5780 0.8849
17 Stefano Coletti Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.6727 0.9796
18 Sage Karam Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.8011 1.1080
19 Luca Filippi Dallara/Chevrolet 1'01.6736 0.9805
20 James Jakes Dallara/Honda 1'01.8323 1.1392
21 Jack Hawksworth Dallara/Honda 1'02.0095 1.3164
22 Gabby Chaves Dallara/Honda 1'01.9705 1.2774
23 F.Dracone Dallara/Honda 1'04.2654 3.5723
24 Carlos Huertas Dallara/Honda 1'01.9716 1.2785
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