Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying Report
September 18, 2016
Track: Sonoma Raceway
Race: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Date: September 17, 2016
No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Speed: 112.177 mph
No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Speed: 112.362 mph
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Speed: 111.992 mph
No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Speed: 112.594 mph
Fast Time: 1:16.2565 (No. 22 – Pagenaud)
Recap: Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud took another step toward winning his first series title on Saturday when he captured the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. After establishing a new track record lap in the first round of qualifying, Pagenaud led a Team Penske 1-2-3-4 Firestone Fast Six sweep of the top positions with a top lap of 1:16.2565 in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Chevrolet. It marked the series-leading seventh pole of the season for Pagenaud and, with the point he earned for leading qualifying, the second-year Team Penske driver extended his lead in the title chase to 44 points over teammate Will Power. That means that if Pagenaud finishes fifth or better in Sunday's race, he will win the championship no matter where Power finishes in the double-points race. Pagenaud just edged teammate Helio Castroneves for his first career pole at Sonoma late in the final round of qualifying. Hoping to clinch third in the championship this weekend, Castroneves posted a fast time of 1:16.4134 and watched in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy as Pagenaud just topped his time while taking the checkered flag. Juan Pablo Montoya turned in a solid qualifying result as he posted the third-fastest lap in the No. 2 hum by Verizon Chevy with a time of 1:16.5400. Power, a three-time winner at Sonoma Raceway, will start fourth on Sunday in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet after he was clocked at 1:16.6659. Saturday’s result marked the first 1-2-3-4 qualifying finish for Team Penske since the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, where Power won the pole followed by Pagenaud, Castroneves and Montoya.
Coverage: The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised on NBC Sports Network beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. Additional coverage will be provided by the IndyCar Radio Network on SIRIUS 212, XM 209 and at IndyCar.com.