Will Power won the pole position in qualifying for Saturday afternoon’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a lap of 1 minute, 6.3 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.
It’s the 60th career pole position for the Team Penske driver, who is IndyCar’s all-time winningest driver on road courses with 28 victories.
“Very pleased obviously,” Power told NBC Sports pit reporter Kelli Stavast. “Always good to see the Verizon 12 Chevy up front.”
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Power was fastest in the Group 1 qualifying session as the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit seemed to lose grip over the course of qualifying.
After posing the past fastest lap in practice, Ryan-Hunter qualified second as the fastest car in Group 2. It’s the first front row start for the Andretti Autosport driver since he won the pole for the Sept. 16, 2018 season finale at Sonoma (his most recent victory in the series).
Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly and Jack Harvey rounded out the top five in qualifying.
Alexander Rossi was sixth after going off course in Group 2, and rookie Alex Palou (20th) lost his best lap for running through the grass and causing a local yellow. Points leader Scott Dixon (17th) was among the other drivers who struggled with handling in qualifying.
“It’s a very slippery track,” Power said. “It takes rubber a lot over the session, so at the beginning, it was very slippery. That lap still didn’t feel like the tires are in, you’re sliding all over the place. Car felt good, man, I just want to have a great race. That’s what I care about.”
.@12WillPower wins the NTT P1 award in today’s qualifying session and will start on the pole for Race 1 today at 4:30PM ET.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) September 12, 2020
It’s the third pole this season for Power and his series-leading fifth at Mid-Ohio.
Power is seeking his first victory since just over a year ago at Portland. He also is winless in 11 prior starts at Mid-Ohio.
“You got to execute on all fronts,” he said. “Me a as a driver, the strategy and the pit stops. That’s how you win races And if a lucky yellow falls your way, which kinda hasn’t gone our way this year. We’ll see what we can do.”
Dixon entered Mid-Ohio with a chance to wrap up his sixth championship but qualified an uncharacteristic 17th for the opener of a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader after posting top-five speeds in practice.
“We have no ideas what happened,” Dixon told Stavast. “The balance was good this morning. Maybe it was that set of tires, or maybe we missed something.
“Unfortunately, that definitely really hurt us. So we’ll have to look at trying to do something different strategy-wise. It’s tough because it’s a pretty straightforward race.”
The five-time series champion is the defending winner at the circuit in Lexington, Ohio, and also is the series’ winningest driver at Mid-Ohio with six victories. Dixon won after starting 22nd in the 2014 race.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver earlier had recovered from a half-spin Saturday to post the fourth-quickest time in practice.
Pato O’Ward also spun in practiced and qualified 15th after his crew repaired slight damage to his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet.
IndyCar qualifying results
1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:06.3343 (122.543 mph)
2. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:06.7287 (121.819)
3. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:06.5508 (122.144)
4. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:06.8761 (121.550)
5. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:06.7690 (121.745)
6. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.1856 (120.990)
7. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 01:06.7841 (121.718)
8. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:07.2205 (120.927)
9. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:07.0110 (121.305)
10. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:07.2489 (120.876)
11. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:07.0162 (121.296)
12. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:07.4491 (120.518)
13. (88) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:07.0212 (121.287)
14. (18) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 01:07.5011 (120.425)
15. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:07.0354 (121.261)
16. (7) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 01:07.6211 (120.211)
17. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:07.1406 (121.071)
18. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.8192 (119.860)
19. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 01:07.2101 (120.946)
20. (55) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:08.1548 (119.270)
21. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.3890 (120.625)
22. (4) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:08.3783 (118.880)
23. (14) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:08.5442 (118.592)