DETROIT – Qualifying today for the second race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans saw a very familiar name at the top of the chart.
For the second straight day, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was fastest, earning the Verizon P1 Award and pole position for the 70-lap race this afternoon. Pagenaud motored the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet around the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park temporary street course in 1 minute, 14.0739 seconds (114.266 mph) to beat the track record set in Saturday’s race by Scott Dixon by more than six-tenths of a second.
Pagenaud, the current Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader, started on pole in Saturday’s first race but finished 13th when he ran out of fuel on the final lap.
CLICK HERE: Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2 qualifying results; Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2 tire designation
“There’s a lot less grip (on the track) than yesterday in the race,” Pagenaud said, “so it took a little bit of adjustments. Once again the HP car was fantastic, I just managed to put the lap together right on the last lap. We had a tremendous race car yesterday, so hopefully we can maximize what we’ve got today because it’s such a beautiful race car. I love it.”
Qualifying for Race 2 veered from the normal three rounds of knockout qualifying on series road and street courses to the 22-car field being split into two groups, with each group permitted 12 minutes of track time.
Pagenaud led the first group, meaning the other cars in his group will assume odd-numbered race starting positions based on their qualifying times. Ryan Hunter-Reay was fastest in Group 2, at 1:14.5621 (113.462 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, and will start beside Pagenaud on Row 1. The other Group 2 cars will start in the even-numbered positions based on their qualifying times.
The Group 2 was filled with drama, as light rain began to fall on portions of the track during the session. Will Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, ran a lap fast enough to top Pagenaud for the pole but was penalized mid-session for interference on the qualifying attempt of Marco Andretti. Power forfeited his two fastest laps for the penalty, dropping to fourth in the session (1:14.8392) and will start eighth.
“I was on an out lap and it was raining,” Power said. “I could not go any faster. It’s just the way everything seems to go right now. Of course, it would rain in our session. It’s frustrating, man. I mean we were so fast. I don’t agree with the penalty.”
By rule, Pagenaud and Hunter-Reay each earn a driver and entrant point for leading their respective qualifying groups. Pagenaud, whose fourth pole this season gave him six in his Verizon IndyCar Series career, takes a 60-point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves (who will start third) into today’s race.
Sebastien Bourdais, who won Saturday’s race from the 13th starting position, will begin today from 12th on the grid.
Teams have little time to turn their cars around from qualifying setup to prepare for today’s race on the 14-turn temporary circuit that will mark the halfway point of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Race coverage can be found on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 3 p.m. ET and on ABC at 3:30 p.m.