Marco Andretti set the pace in both practice sessions for the Milwaukee IndyFest (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) and followed it up with his third career pole in the IZOD IndyCar Series later Friday afternoon. His first came at Milwaukee in 2008, and he also won the pole at last year’s season-closer in Fontana, Calif.
“We rolled off pretty good,” Andretti said. “We knew Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) would be the one to beat. I’d have to go flat in 1-2 both laps. Like I said the (No. 25) RC Cola car has been right where we need to be. Good in race trim too.”
It was an Andretti Autosport benefit in qualifying for the Andretti Sports Marketing-promoted event. Andretti’s teammate James Hinchcliffe qualified second, with Ryan Hunter-Reay fourth and E.J. Viso fifth on the grid.
Hinchcliffe’s GoDaddy team made a good recovery from the Canadian’s contact in first practice to fix his No. 27 Chevrolet.
“From where we were on the 27 car, if you’d have told us three hours ago we’d be on the front row, we would have laughed at you back at the truck,” he said. “The first practice I tried to move the wall in Turn 2. It didn’t work. The second practice, we just fought an ill-handling car. We made changes, but we didn’t end up happy. To go out there was great, with the first ever flat qualifying lap at Milwaukee.”
Will Power was the only driver outside the thus far dominant team this weekend to break up the party with third place in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Chevrolets swept the top seven spots on the grid, with Dragon Racing’s Sebastian Saavedra posting a career-best qualifying effort in sixth ahead of Tony Kanaan in seventh.
Three Hondas – Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) and Schmidt teammates Simon Pagenaud (HP Schmidt Hamilton) and Tristan Vautier (Schmidt Peterson) – completed the top 10.
No grid penalties for engine changes have been assessed to this point and the final grid will be issued before Saturday’s race.
IZOD IndyCar Series – Milwaukee IndyFest
Unofficial Starting Lineup
78-Simona de Silvestro