IndyCar: Will Power wins third straight Firestone 600 pole


FORT WORTH – It’s hot down here in North Texas, but the heat isn’t making you see triple. Will Power won his third straight Verizon P1 Award at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 with an average speed of 218.519 mph.

Power was the first of the field’s 23 cars to take to the 1.5-mile track.

“I drew number one obviously this morning in the drivers meeting,” Power said. “I was a little worried about the conditions.  It kind of stayed consistent over the whole run of qualifying.  I was really happy to get pole honestly.”

It’s also Power’s fourth pole in 2015, having started P1 in St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis road course and race one of the Dual in Detroit. Team Penske will start from the pole for the eighth time in nine races in 2015. The only exception came with Scott Dixon in the Indianapolis 500.

“The race, it’s going to be interesting.  You know, you got all this stuff you can put on to add downforce if you want,” Power said.  “But it’s quite draggy, so you lose a bit of speed.  It’s going to be about finding the right compromise for speed loss versus grip.  I guess we’ll try some things tonight and see how it all stacks up.”

Speaking of Team Penske, three of the top five positions on the starting grid are filled with Power’s teammates. Simon Pagenaud will start P2 (218.441), Helio Castroneves is P3 (218.059) and Juan Pablo Montoya is P5 at 217.530 mph.

The quartet was broken up by the last qualifying attempt, made by Andretti Autosport’s Carloz Munoz and his average speed of 217.831.

Defending race winner Ed Carpenter qualified 15th, one position behind teammate Josef Newgarden.

Sage Karam, making his first appearance at TMS, qualified 10th.

Starting Grid:


IndyCar Power Rankings: Pato O’Ward moves to the top entering Texas Motor Speedway


The NBC Sports IndyCar power rankings naturally were as jumbled as the action on the streets of St. Petersburg after a chaotic opener to the 2023 season.

Pato O’Ward, who finished second because of an engine blip that cost him the lead with a few laps remaining, moves into the top spot ahead of St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi, who finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. Scott Dixon and St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who led 31 laps) rounded out the top five.

St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who started first at St. Pete after capturing his second career pole position) Callum Ilott (a career-best fifth) and Graham Rahal entered the power rankings entering the season’s second race.

Three drivers fell out of the preseason top 10 after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – including previously top-ranked Josef Newgarden, who finished 17th after qualifying 14th.

Heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through the first of 17 races this year (with previous preseason rankings in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Pato O’Ward (5) – If not for the dreaded “plenum event” in the No. 5 Chevrolet, the Arrow McLaren driver is opening the season with a victory capping a strong race weekend.

2. Marcus Ericsson (7) – He might be the most opportunistic driver in IndyCar, but that’s because the 2022 Indy 500 winner has become one of the series’ fastest and most consistent stars.

3. Alexander Rossi (10) – He overcame a frustrating Friday and mediocre qualifying to open his Arrow McLaren career with the sort of hard-earned top five missing in his last years at Andretti.

4. Scott Dixon (3) – Put aside his opening-lap skirmish with former teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and it was a typically stealthily good result for the six-time champion.

5. Romain Grosjean (NR) – The St. Petersburg pole-sitter consistently was fastest on the streets of St. Petersburg over the course of the race weekend, which he couldn’t say once last year.

6. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Easily the best of the Team Penske drivers before his crash with Grosjean, McLaughlin drove like a legitimate 2023 championship contender.

7. Callum Ilott (NR) – A quietly impressive top five for the confident Brit in Juncos Hollinger Racing’s first race as a two-car team. Texas will be a big oval litmus test.

8. Graham Rahal (NR) – Sixth at St. Pete, Rahal still has the goods on street courses, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan remains headed in the right direction.

9. Alex Palou (4) – He seemed a step behind Ericsson and Dixon in the race after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying, but this was a solid start for Palou.

10. Will Power (2) – An uncharacteristic mistake that crashed Colton Herta put a blemish on the type of steady weekend that helped him win the 2022 title.

Falling out (last week): Josef Newgarden (1), Colton Herta (8), Christian Lundgaard (9)