Dixon takes Verizon P1 Award in record-breaking Watkins Glen qualifying

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Verizon P1 Award qualifying at Watkins Glen International was full of surprises, but after leading each of the three practice sessions for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi, Scott Dixon’s record-setting feat to win the pole served as one of the few predictable stories of the day.

Dixon’s Firestone Fast Six lap of 1 minute 22.5259 seconds (147.008 mph) scored the Kiwi’s 25th career pole and also smashed the track record on the 3.37-mile road course, previously set by Ryan Briscoe at 1:28.1332 in 2009. Dixon is now tied for 11th on the all-time poles list with Paul Tracy.

“It was hairy man,” said Dixon, who had a couple close calls in earlier segments when he narrowly advanced. “It was definitely one of those sessions. … (Segment) 2 was a nail-biter for us; basically throughout that lap. We had a bit of a missed shift go out of (Turn) 1 and lost about three-tenths on the back straight, so I’m like ‘Oh, we’re really going to miss this,’ so definitely a crazy session.”

CLICK HERE: INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen qualifying results

Team Penske’s Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:22.5742) will join Dixon on the front row, with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, 1:22.7844) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 1:22.8748) making up Row 2. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet, 1:22.9158) and Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Chevrolet, 1:23.0064) make up the third row for Sunday’s 60-lap race.

The first segment of qualifications set the tone for the afternoon, as Power officially broke the Watkins Glen track record with a lap of 1:23.3927 in Group 1 and was one of several interesting stories of Verizon P1 Award qualifying.

Just a week removed from their thrilling battle for the win at Texas Motor Speedway, both James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and Graham Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) saw their fast laps of Segment 1 revoked when each was charged with qualifying interference, nullifying runs that would have moved them into the second segment. Hinchcliffe will start 13th and Rahal 20th.

The second segment continued the theme of surprises, as championship leader Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Chevrolet) failed to make the Firestone Fast Six for the first time all season, qualifying seventh. Mikhail Aleshin (No., 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda) was also penalized for qualifying interference, knocking him out of the Firestone Fast Six, the third and final round of knockout qualifying.

“We missed the Fast Six by just a little,” said Pagenaud, who holds a 28-point lead on teammate Will Power in the series championship with two races to go, “but that’s how competitive the Verizon IndyCar Series is. If everything is not practically perfect, then someone else will be a little faster. I like our prospects for the race tomorrow, though. We’re in good shape.”

Meanwhile, Chilton made the Firestone Fast Six for the first time in his rookie season, qualifying sixth at 1:23.0064.

Dixon’s margin over Power for the Verizon P1 Award stood at just under five-hundredths of a second and scored the New Zealander one point toward the championship, in which he currently sits sixth. Pagenaud has a 28-point advantage over Power heading into the race.

Coverage of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi begins at 2 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. It will be preceded by a 30-minute warmup practice (10:30 a.m. ET Sunday, live stream on RaceControl.IndyCar.com).

This weekend’s race is the penultimate on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, with only the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18 remaining.

Qualifying results are below:

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Session

1

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:22.5259

147.008

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

2

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:22.5742

146.922

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

3

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:22.7844

146.549

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

4

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:22.8748

146.389

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

5

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:22.9158

146.317

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

6

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:23.0064

146.157

Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six

7

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:23.4660

145.353

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

8

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:23.5493

145.208

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

9

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:23.6392

145.052

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

10

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:23.7744

144.818

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

11

19

Enerson, RC (R)

D/H/H/F

01:23.9907

144.445

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

12

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

01:24.0983

144.260

Elimination Round 2 / Top 12

13

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

01:24.0477

144.347

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

14

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:24.8928

142.910

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

15

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:24.0908

144.273

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

16

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:25.5560

141.802

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

17

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:24.2606

143.982

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

18

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:26.4285

140.370

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

19

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:24.5254

143.531

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

20

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:58.1893

102.649

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

21

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:25.1826

142.423

Elimination Round 1 / Group 1

22

14

Sato, Takuma

(R) Rookie

D/H/H/F

02:12.3265

91.682

Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

Pursuant to Rule 8.3.7.1, Cars 7, 14, and 15 had two best times invalidated in their session. Pursuant to Rule 8.3.7.2, Car 5 had best time 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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