DETROIT – Setting the stage for a speedy doubleheader weekend at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans, the Verizon IndyCar Series qualified for Race 1 this afternoon, with Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud taking the Verizon P1 Award on a record-breaking day.
Driving the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet, Pagenaud was fastest in the climactic Firestone Fast Six, the final qualifying round, with a lap of 1 minute, 14.9166 seconds (112.926) to earn the pole position for Saturday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). It marked the fifth Verizon IndyCar Series pole for Pagenaud and third this season for the championship points leader.
Pagenaud’s effort edged teammate Helio Castroneves, who will start second in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy following a lap of 1:14.9285 (112.908 mph). Castroneves, a three-time race winner at Belle Isle, established the new track record in Segment 2 of qualifying on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park temporary street course with a lap of 1:14.6899 (113.268 mph) that shattered teammate Will Power’s track mark set in 2015 by more than 1.5 seconds.
Team Penske made it a sweep of the first three starting positions when Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy) ran a lap of 1:15.5659 (111.955 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six. James Hinchcliffe, the Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, qualified fourth today as the fastest Honda, at 1:15.7708 (111.653 mph) in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry.
Row 3 will consist of Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Magneti Marelli Honda (1:16.3897) and Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy (1:16.4613).
After Power unofficially beat his year-old track standard (1:16.0941) by more than a second in morning practice, the track record was expected to officially fall in afternoon qualifying. It did not take long. All 12 drivers who advanced from Segment 1 went faster than Power’s 2015 lap, as did the six who moved on to the Firestone Fast Six from Segment 2.
A final practice is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. ET Saturday (RaceControl.IndyCar.com) before the first race of the Dual weekend. Qualifying for Race 2, consisting of all cars split into two groups running 12 minutes each, is set for 10:45 a.m. ET Sunday (RaceControl.IndyCar.com). The second race airs at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
The completion of this weekend’s races will mark the halfway point of the 16-race Verizon IndyCar Series season.