Pagenaud wins Verizon P1 Award at Iowa, collects 500th pole in Team Penske history

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NEWTON, Iowa – Two weeks after competing on the longest circuit on the schedule at Road America, the Verizon IndyCar Series turns to its shortest in the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval this weekend for the Iowa Corn 300.

And with a blazing qualifying effort, Simon Pagenaud earned the Verizon P1 Award and the 500th pole position in the racing history of Team Penske.

CLICK HERE: Iowa Corn 300 qualifying results; Iowa Speedway visor cam lap with Ed Carpenter

Pagenaud’s No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet nailed down the top spot in qualifying with a two-lap run of 34.6334 seconds (185.855 mph). It is the seventh pole of Pagenaud’s Verizon IndyCar Series career and fifth this season. It is also his second on an oval, the other coming in 2015 at Auto Club Speedway.

“That’s pretty cool, isn’t it,” Pagenaud said of the team milestone. “Five hundred, how cool is that? Certainly a great stamp on the work the No. 22 team has been doing as well as the whole Penske organization. We work, all four of us, together with Helio (Castroneves), Juan (Pablo Montoya) and Will (Power). It makes it really nice to go to work in the morning. We manage to make the car better together and it shows on the racetrack.”

The recognizable fluorescent yellow Menards colors return to Pagenaud’s No. 22 car this weekend, after the home improvement chain extended its partnership with Team Penske for the Iowa and Pocono races. The additional point Pagenaud earned for pole extends his championship lead to 75 points over teammate Castroneves heading into Sunday’s 300-lap race (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).

“Super proud of everyone with the Menards team,” said Pagenaud. “It is fantastic to accomplish success this year. But this is qualifying and the big prize is tomorrow when the points come.”

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden posted a two-lap run of 34.6738 seconds (185.639 mph) in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to sit on the outside of Row 1 for Sunday’s race. Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 34.7122 seconds, 185.433 mph) and rookie Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Services Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, 34.7148, 185.419) make up the second row.

Chilton’s result as the fastest Ganassi driver was impressive but not surprising, as the Briton claimed his lone Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires victory at Iowa in 2015. Chilton used that experience to help propel him to his best Verizon IndyCar Series start to date.

“I could tell the car was loose even on the out lap,” said Chilton. “From (Indy Lights) qualifying last year on pole and the car being too loose, I thought actually maybe it might work out. So I tried to preempt the lifts (off the throttle). I could see my teammates had been lifting, so I tried to do a really small lift early and just went gradual, and I think it paid off.

“Great job by the Ganassi guys. It was nice to be the fastest (of the team), no easy feat.”

Fellow Ganassi drivers Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet), Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet), and Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chevrolet) will start the race fifth, sixth and 10th, respectively.

Kanaan set an unofficial track record with a lap of 17.9127 seconds (186.902 mph) in morning practice, but official records may only be set in qualifying or the race. Castroneves’ official record (17.2283 seconds, 186.809 mph), set in 2014 qualifying, held up through today’s qualifying to remain the standard.

Andretti Autosport boasts winning the last six Verizon IndyCar Series races at Iowa, but will need to make a charge to make it seven in a row. Carlos Munoz (No. 26 Honda) was the best qualifier of the team’s four cars, starting 15th with a two-lap run at 35.5493 seconds (181.067 mph). Three-time race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay backed his No. 28 DHL Honda into the wall in morning practice and qualified 20th (35.7792 seconds, 179.903 mph).

A final 30-minute practice session tonight begins at 7:15 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

Qualifying results are below:

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Lap 1

Lap 2

Total Time

Avg Speed

Comment

1

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

17.3089

17.3245

00:34.6334

185.855

2

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

17.3314

17.3424

00:34.6738

185.639

3

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

17.3605

17.3517

00:34.7122

185.433

4

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

17.3768

17.3380

00:34.7148

185.419

5

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

17.4438

17.4461

00:34.8899

184.489

6

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

17.4720

17.4291

00:34.9011

184.430

7

20

Carpenter, Ed

D/C/C/F

17.4501

17.4681

00:34.9182

184.339

8

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

17.5366

17.4490

00:34.9856

183.984

9

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

17.6076

17.6135

00:35.2211

182.754

10

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

17.6701

17.5716

00:35.2417

182.647

11

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

17.5590

17.6840

00:35.2430

182.641

12

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

17.6816

17.6364

00:35.3180

182.253

13

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

17.7213

17.6556

00:35.3769

181.949

14

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

17.7183

17.7072

00:35.4255

181.700

15

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

17.8024

17.7469

00:35.5493

181.067

16

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

17.8887

17.6884

00:35.5771

180.925

17

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

17.7853

17.7929

00:35.5782

180.920

18

19

Chaves, Gabby

D/H/H/F

17.8346

17.8481

00:35.6827

180.390

19

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

17.7837

17.9196

00:35.7033

180.286

20

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

17.9788

17.8004

00:35.7792

179.903

21

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

18.0670

17.9641

00:36.0311

178.646

22

5

Hinchcliffe, James

(R) Rookie

D/H/H/F

18.3330

18.4430

00:36.7760

175.027

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

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