LEXINGTON, Ohio – The stage is set for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET, CNBC) from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the top seven in points starting in the top seven positions, with fifth-placed Will Power on the pole position.
It’s the fifth pole of the season for the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, having lapped the 2.258-mile track in 1:04.1720. The pole is his 49th of his career, tied for fourth all-time with Bobby Unser.
Power surprisingly has not won at Mid-Ohio and at a 64-point gap to the lead (423-359), could use his first one Sunday to keep his title hopes alive.
Josef Newgarden rolls off second in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, clocking in at 1:04.3067, for his first front row start this year.
Takuma Sato was an impressive third in the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport, with Graham Rahal fourth in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda, and Helio Castroneves fifth in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Points leader Scott Dixon again made the Firestone Fast Six, continuing his run of making every one this season, and will roll off from sixth in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda as he seeks his sixth win at Mid-Ohio.
In Q1, Group 1, Pagenaud led at 1:04.3597 while Takuma Sato, Castroneves, Esteban Gutierrez, James Hinchcliffe and Conor Daly made it into Q2. This marks the first time Gutierrez and Daly have made Q2 this season; Daly’s best start this year is 10th at Detroit race two, but that was an alternative qualifying format rather than the traditional knockout stages.
Tony Kanaan caused a local yellow that affected another car (Hinchcliffe) and would lose his fastest lap as a result.
Kanaan’s teammate Charlie Kimball, rookie Ed Jones and JR Hildebrand were also knocked out, Kimball the closest to advancing as his 1:04.9930 lap was only 0.03 off Daly’s best time.
Rahal topped Group 2 at 1:04.1938, the track having gotten a little bit faster, ahead of Newgarden, Power, Rossi, Dixon and Hunter-Reay in a stacked group.
Not even four tenths off Rahal, Marco Andretti was first to miss out in this group at 1:04.5929, a little over a tenth behind Hunter-Reay, while Spencer Pigot, Max Chilton, Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin were also eliminated.
The race to make the Firestone Fast Six out of Q2 was even tighter. Just 0.1732 of a second separated the Fast Six, which included six of the top seven in points. Rahal led at 1:04.0828 ahead of Sato (1:04.1847), Newgarden (1:04.1920), Power (1:04.2505), Castroneves (1:05.2536) and Dixon (1:05.2560); Dixon maintains his run as the only driver to make the Fast Six every race this year.
Knocked out were Pagenaud, Hinchcliffe, Rossi, Hunter-Reay, Daly and Gutierrez. Just two tenths separated Dixon in sixth from Hunter-Reay in this group.
Power then dominated in the Fast Six qualifying session, and was never headed en route to the pole.
The provisional grid is below.
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Qualifying Saturday for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:04.1720 (126.672)
2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:04.3067 (126.407)
3. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:04.6792 (125.679)
4. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:04.7959 (125.452)
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:04.8485 (125.351)
6. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:05.1927 (124.689)
7. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:04.3008 (126.418)
8. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:04.3784 (126.266)
9. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:04.4906 (126.046)
10. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:04.4928 (126.042)
11. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:04.8745 (125.300)
12. (18) Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 01:05.0368 (124.988)
13. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 01:04.9930 (125.072)
14. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:04.5929 (125.847)
15. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:05.0337 (124.994)
16. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:04.6186 (125.797)
17. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 01:05.3200 (124.446)
18. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 01:04.8603 (125.328)
19. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:05.3382 (124.411)
20. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 01:04.9440 (125.166)
21. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:05.2441 (124.591)