Power secures MAVTV 500 pole at Fontana (UPDATED)


Will Power followed up his pace from Friday morning’s first practice session with the pole position for Saturday night’s IZOD IndyCar Series 2013 season finale, the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

It’s a mixed bag result for Power. The pole is his third Verizon P1 Award this season (season opener in St. Petersburg, and also in Texas), but it knocked his teammate and championship contender Helio Castroneves off the pole and cost him an extra potential point. That said, it also beat Castroneves’ title rival Scott Dixon, so it’s not all bad.

“I drove out of the pits today, and the car was pretty quick in qualifying trim,” Power said. “I thought we’d have a pretty good shot. The way the order worked out, Scott was after me. I was after Helio. It would have been nice for Helio to get the point, but Scott didn’t, so it kind of still keeps it alive.”

Castroneves qualified second but he’ll start 12th as he had an unapproved engine change prior to this weekend.

The third member of the Roger Penske-led, Team Penske brigade, AJ Allmendinger, qualified third and will advance to second. Sebastien Bourdais will start third, his best oval start of the year, for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing.

Row two should be the two fastest Hondas, Charlie Kimball and James Jakes, with 2012 Fontana polesitter Marco Andretti to the outside. Dixon had qualified seventh but like Castroneves, he has a 10-position grid penalty looming for an unapproved engine change.

Defending race winner Ed Carpenter should start seventh, ahead of James Hinchcliffe and this year’s Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan. Alex Tagliani would round out the top 10 in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing substitute appearance.

The six drivers with engine penalties thus far are: Castroneves, Dixon, Josef Newgarden (10th fastest in qualifying), Graham Rahal (18th), Sebastian Saavedra (22nd) and Takuma Sato (did not qualify).

Sato and Pippa Mann were unable to qualify due to damage from their accidents in practice while Justin Wilson didn’t set a time after stalling and apparent ECU issues, per Trackside Online.

UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. ET: INDYCAR has issued the official starting grid. Note the changes from qualifying speeds.

IZOD IndyCar Series – MAVTV 500
Starting Grid

1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy
2. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy
3. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy
4. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda
5. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda
6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy
7. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy
8. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy
9. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy
10. (5) Carlos Munoz (R), Dallara-Chevy
11. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy
12. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy
13. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda
14. (4) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy
15. (98) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda
16. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy
17. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda
18. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda
19. (18) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda
20. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda
21. (10) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda
22. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda
23. (55) Tristan Vautier (R), Dallara-Honda
24. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy
25. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda

Pursuant to Rule 15.6.1, Cars 3, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 55 and 67 penalized starting grid spots.
(R) Rookie

IZOD IndyCar Series – MAVTV 500
Qualifying Speeds

FONTANA, Calif. – Qualifying Friday for the MAVTV 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and two-lap qualifying average:

1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 220.775
2. (3) Helio Castroneves*, Dallara-Chevy, 219.677
3. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy, 218.894
4. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 218.513
5. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 217.986
6. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 217.979
7. (9) Scott Dixon*, Dallara-Honda, 217.979
8. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 217.958
9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 217.932
10. (67) Josef Newgarden*, Dallara-Honda, 217.871
11. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 217.798
12. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 217.566
13. (10) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 217.419
14. (5) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Chevy, 217.050
15. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.898
16. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 216.447
17. (4) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 216.213
18. (15) Graham Rahal*, Dallara-Honda, 216.106
19. (98) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 215.967
20. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 215.207
21. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 214.679
22. (6) Sebastian Saavedra*, Dallara-Chevy, 213.262
23. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, no speed
24. (18) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, no speed
25. (14) Takuma Sato*, Dallara-Honda, no speed

*Denotes driver with 10-spot penalty to come for unapproved engine change