Even though he won the Indianapolis 500 in May, Will Power needed a big lift after DNFs in the last two Verizon IndyCar races (at Texas Motor Speedway and Road America).
Power got that in Saturday’s qualifying, taking the pole position for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 (2:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Iowa Speedway with an average speed of 182.391 mph.
“I had to lift late in the corner, a little bit loose in one and two,” Power told the INDYCAR Radio Network. “That was about all I had.”
It’s Power’s 52nd career IndyCar pole and his fourth at Iowa, including his second straight.
“I love this place, it’s a real tough boring little oval,” Power said. “I’ve been trying to win this one for so long. I’m obviously starting the race in a good spot.”
Power then added with a chuckle, “It’s a big year for me if I win the Indianapolis 500 and at Iowa. If I was looking at a list of things to do, that would almost top the list.”
Power led a Team Penske onslaught, as Josef Newgarden (181.160 mph) qualified No. 2 and Simon Pagenaud (180.313 mph) will start Sunday’s race from the No. 4 spot.
“We had a real good lap,” Newgarden said. “Just missed it. Starting on the front row is a good job for Team Penske.”
Andretti Autosport grabbed the third and fifth positions.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has won three times at Iowa Speedway, qualified third (180.681 mph).
Alexander Rossi (179.801 mph) qualified fifth, while points leader Scott Dixon (179.526 mph) – who has never won at Iowa in 11 starts – qualified sixth.
Canadian rookie Robert Wickens (178.883 mph) will start seventh.
“I’m pretty happy,” Wickens told the INDYCAR Radio Network. “I was worried that I wouldn’t even crack the top-10.”
Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Ed Jones (178.720 mph), Ed Carpenter (178.717), Takuma Sato (178.708).
Eleventh through 20th were James Hinchcliffe (178.478), Graham Rahal (178.410), Tony Kanaan (178.008), Zach Veach (177.809), Sebastien Bourdais (177.681), Gabby Chaves (176.466), Charlie Kimball (176.245), Spencer Pigot (175.210), Marco Andretti (174.548) and Zachary Claman De Melo (174.339).
Wrapping up the 22-car field were Max Chilton (173.449) in 21st and Matheus Leist (168.724) in 22nd.
There was one near-miss in Turns 3 and 4 when James Hinchcliffe almost lost control of his car.
“Not ideal on a qualifying effort, for sure,” Hinchcliffe told the IndyCar Radio Network. “It caught me a little bit coming off Turn 4. I had to keep my foot in it and hope I could hold on.”
Results are below.