Power denies Newgarden Gateway pole at end of qualifying (VIDEO)

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MADISON, Ill. – For the second consecutive weekend, the final driver to qualify in the Verizon IndyCar Series snatched pole from a competitor.

Last week it was Takuma Sato over Simon Pagenaud at Pocono Raceway and tonight it was Will Power toppling Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden for the pole for Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Newgarden had what looked to be an unassailable speed of 188.316 mph for his two-lap average in his No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet.

That was until Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, smashed it with a two-lap average of 189.642 mph.

Power’s two laps were 189.709 mph (23.7206 seconds) and 189.575 mph (23.7373 seconds) to give him that average speed.

The previous pole speed in 2003, the year of IndyCar’s most recent trip to Gateway, was set by Helio Castroneves at 175.965 mph. The all-time record was set by Raul Boesel in 1997 at 187.963 mph.

For the second consecutive session, all four Team Penske cars swept the top four. Castroneves and Pagenaud are on row two.

The four Penske cars all qualified at 186 mph or greater. Ed Carpenter, best of the rest in fifth, was only at 184.528 mph – a full five mph off the pole pace, and nearly six tenths off over the two-lap total.

It’s Carpenter and Takuma Sato next, Sato the top Honda, with Scott Dixon in seventh, Carlos Munoz in eighth, and Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe completing the top 10.

RESULTS

MADISON, Illinois – Qualifying Friday for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and speed:

1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 189.642
2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 188.316
3. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 187.457
4. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 186.747
5. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 184.528
6. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 184.186
7. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 183.848
8. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 183.620
9. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 183.578
10. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 183.528
11. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 183.283
12. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 182.900
13. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 182.830
14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 182.529
15. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 182.499
16. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 182.271
17. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 182.195
18. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 182.137
19. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 181.846
20. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 181.191
21. (7) Sebastian Saavedra, Honda, 177.700

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: