Rossi steals first career pole with last-lap dash at Watkins Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, New York – Alexander Rossi sped to the first pole position of his Verizon IndyCar Series career, claiming the Verizon P1 Award in qualifying today for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen.

Rossi negotiated Watkins Glen International’s 3.37-mile, 11-turn permanent road course in 1 minute, 22.4639 seconds (147.119 mph) to earn the top starting position for Sunday’s 60-lap race (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). The driver of the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda set the decisive lap as the final driver to cross the timing line in the Firestone Fast Six, the last of three rounds of knockout qualifying.

INDYCAR GRAND PRIX AT THE GLEN: Unofficial qualifying results

Rossi’s best previous qualifying effort in 31 Verizon IndyCar Series races was third on two occasions – most recently at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

Ed JonesBy winning the pole, Rossi denied Scott Dixon the chance to edge closer to championship leader Josef Newgarden in the point standings. Dixon settled for the second starting spot with a lap of 1:22.5168 (147.025 mph) in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda that nipped Newgarden by a ten-thousandth of a second.

Dixon is the only driver to reach all eight Firestone Fast Six rounds contested this season and has earned a top-five starting position in each of his eight visits to Watkins Glen. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver also broke his own track record in the second round of qualifying today with a lap of 1:22.4171 (147.202 mph).

Newgarden, who holds a 31-point lead over Dixon, will start third in the No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet following his lap of 1:22.5169 (147.024 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six. Takuma Sato, Rossi’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, qualified fourth in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda (1:22.5660, 146.937 mph).

Charlie Kimball qualified fifth in the No. 83 Tresiba Honda (1:22.8081, 146.507 mph), with Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:23.3350, 145.581 mph). Castroneves is third in the championship with two races left in the season, 42 points behind teammate Newgarden.

Newgarden, Dixon, Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud (qualified 12th), Will Power (qualified eighth), Graham Rahal (qualified 10th), Rossi and Sato all are mathematically alive for the championship.

Following a 30-minute warmup practice at 9 a.m. ET Sunday (live stream on RaceControl.IndyCar.com), the 60-lap INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen is set for that afternoon.

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