Power takes Verizon P1 Award at Road America

Updated: 

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Moving one step closer to the Verizon IndyCar Series’ official return to racing at Road America, the 22-car field took to qualifying this afternoon for the KOHLER Grand Prix.

After a scintillating Firestone Fast Six lap of 1 minute, 42.2105 seconds (141.379 mph), qualifying master Will Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the 44th time of his career and will pace the field to Sunday’s green flag in what will be the ninth race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. The career poles total ranks Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fifth on the all-time Indy list, three behind Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

CLICK HERE: KOHLER Grand Prix qualifying results

Segment 1, Group 1 of qualifying quickly saw drivers flex their muscle, as Scott Dixon (No. 9 Clorox Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) set the fastest lap of the weekend to that point (1:42.4888). Joining Dixon in advancing to Segment 2 were the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet of Castroneves, 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda), Carlos Munoz (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda), Graham Rahal (No. 15 Gehl/D-A Lubricant Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and rookie Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet).

Advancing to Segment 2 was an impressive feat for Munoz, whose Andretti Autosport crew had to change an engine following a mechanical issue in Saturday morning’s practice session.

Group 2 of Segment 1 provided some drama, as Josef Newgarden (No. 21 Direct Supply Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) spun in the final minute out of Turn 9, bringing out the red flag. With several drivers yet to put in their fastest laps of the segment, drivers who posted fast times in practice, including Jack Hawksworth (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda) and Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet), were not able to advance.

Moving on to Segment 2 were rookie Conor Daly (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Dale Coyne Racing Honda), Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet) and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet), recently crowed 24 Hours of Le Mans champion Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut - KVSH Racing Chevrolet) and Team Penske drivers Power and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet).

Segment 2 set up the battle for rights to the Firestone Fast Six and an opportunity to compete for the Verizon P1 Award. The final standings came down to the checkered flag, where Dixon again set the fastest lap of the weekend at 1:42.1451 and drivers leap-frogged each other into the top six. Those moving on to Segment 3 were Dixon, Kanaan, Pagenaud, Power, Rahal and Castroneves – all separated by less than half a second.

The Firestone Fast Six pinned the fastest cars and fastest drivers of the weekend together for an 8-minute duel to determine the winner of the Verizon P1 Award. While most drivers waited until the final 4 minutes to turn a hot lap, the final seconds were fiercely competitive.

With less than 40 seconds left in the session, Power threw down the gauntlet with a lap of 1:42.2105 and then waited to see if his time would hold. Pagenaud, Dixon and Kanaan all posted laps close, but none good enough to beat the Australian’s time, as the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion earned his second Verizon P1 Award of the 2016 season.

“Took a risk in the second round and got through on used (alternate) tires and that gave us the best shot at the pole because (Scott) Dixon has been very quick,” said Power. “I am really excited to get pole, I really am. Been kind of a rough start of the year for us, but we are firing on all cylinders now.”

Dixon (1:42.3759 in the Firestone Fast Six) will start on the outside of Row 1, with teammate Kanaan (1:42.7279) third. Pagenaud (1:42.8573) and Castroneves (1:42.9449) rounded out the top five and Rahal (1:43.7782) will start on the outside of Row 3.

“I think there were just too many mistakes made to get the pole,” said Dixon, who will make his third Indy car start at Road America on Sunday. “We definitely had the car for the pole. I messed up the last two corners in the Clorox car, which in turn costs us two-and-a-half tenths (of a second) and ultimately the pole position.”

On Sunday, Indy cars will race at historic Road America for the first time since 2007 in the KOHLER Grand Prix. A final warm-up practice is set for 9 a.m. ET Sunday (streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com). Race coverage starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Session

1

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:42.2105

141.379

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

2

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:42.3759

141.150

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

3

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:42.7279

140.667

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

4

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:42.8573

140.490

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

5

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:42.9449

140.370

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

6

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:43.7782

139.243

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

7

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:42.7519

140.634

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

8

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:42.8318

140.525

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

9

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:43.1073

140.149

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

10

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:43.2001

140.023

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

11

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:43.2649

139.935

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

12

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:43.3291

139.848

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

13

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:43.4024

139.749

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

14

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:44.3570

138.471

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

15

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

01:43.5357

139.569

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

16

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:45.0840

137.513

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

17

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:43.6432

139.424

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

18

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:45.5110

136.956

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

19

19

Chaves, Gabby

D/H/H/F

01:43.6672

139.392

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

20

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

04:19.1862

55.753

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

21

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:43.7289

139.309

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

22

5

Hinchcliffe, James

(R) Rookie

D/H/H/F

04:29.0408

53.711

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

Pursuant to Rule 8.3.5, Car 21 had best two lap times invalidated in his session. Pursuant to Rule 8.3.7, Car 5 had best two lap times invalidated in his session.

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone

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