Will Power wins pole for Honda Indy 200

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Will Power, still look­ing for a vic­tory at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course, took his fifth pole of the sea­son and fel­low Team Penske driver Josef New­gar­den qual­i­fied sec­ond for to­day’s Honda Indy 200.

For Power, it was his third pole at MidOhio and the 49th of his ca­reer to tie Bobby Unser for fourth among IndyCar driv­ers. Power has also been on the front row at Mid-Ohio for six straight years.

In eight starts at Mid-Ohio, his best fin­ish is sec­ond, with five other top-five fin­ishes. “We haven’t won here,” he said. “It’s some­thing I’d re­ally like to do. I’ve qual­i­fied well here. I’ve run well here.” Power won the Fast 6 qual­i­fier Satur­day with a lap of 126.672 mph com­pared to 126.407 for New­gar­den as Chevro­let took the top two spots.

Team Penske earned both of the spots on the front row for the fifth time in 13 races this sea­son. “We’re in the front row with Team Penske so it’s a good team day,” New­gar­den said. Takuma Sato of An­dretti Au­tosport drove his Honda to the third po­si­tion. Lo­cal fa­vorite Gra­ham Ra­hal (Honda) of Ra­hal Let­ter­man Lani­gan Rac­ing was fourth. Ra­hal was in con­tention for the top spot un­til get­ting loose on a turn be­fore re­gain­ing con­trol.

“That’s as side­ways as I’ve been in a long time,” he said. He­lio Cas­tron­eves (Chevro­let) of Team Penske qual­i­fied fifth and five-time Mid-Ohio win­ner Scott Dixon (Honda) was sixth for Chip Ganassi Rac­ing. Dixon is the only driver to make the Fast 6 in the seven races in which the qual­i­fy­ing for­mat is used. The race is 90 laps around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile course for a to­tal of 203.22 miles.

SLOW DOWN

Dixon’s team­mate, Tony Kanaan, did not ad­vance out of the first round of qual­i­fy­ing when his spin-out on the last lap im­peded James Hinch­cliffe, caus­ing a lo­cal yel­low cau­tion. Kanaan was docked his two fastest times. “We’ll over­come that. There’s al­ways the race to­mor­row,” Kanaan said.

WHAT TO EX­PECT

Team Penske ap­pears poised to con­trol Mid-Ohio again. Power has done ev­ery­thing but win there. New­gar­den won the last race at Toronto. Cas­tron­eves is al­ways lurk­ing and de­fend­ing cham­pion Si­mon Pa­ge­naud will start sev­enth.

NOT SO HOT

Af­ter be­ing held out of the last race at Toronto by Sch­midt Peter­son Motorsports man­age­ment for poor re­cent per­for­mances, Mikhail Aleshin went off course and into the tire bar­ri­ers dur­ing Satur­day’s prac­tice ses­sion. He later qual­i­fied last of 21 driv­ers. Aleshin is 17th in the se­ries points stand­ings with three top-10 fin­ishes but has crashed out of three of the first 11 races, in­clud­ing two of his past three.

TAK­ING STOCK

New­gar­den is fourth in se­ries points af­ter fin­ish­ing in the same spot last year for Ed Car­pen­ter rac­ing. “We’re still learn­ing,” New­gar­den said. “We haven’t had a per­fect year by any means but we’ve had a very good year.” — AP

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