Power Secures Eighth Pole of the Season at Kentucky
October 1, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
SPARTA, Ky. (October 1, 2011) – Team Penske's Will Power turned two strong laps into another valuable point in the race for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship Saturday by winning the pole position for Sunday's Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Power's two-lap average in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda was 219.283 mph around the 1.5-mile tri-oval. The strong effort gave him the bonus point for winning the pole and padded his lead over Dario Franchitti, who qualified in the 11th position, to 12 points with just two races remaining in the 2011 season.
"It was a great result for Verizon Team Penske today," said Power, who scored his second career oval pole to go along with the one he earned at Iowa in 2010. "We've been working really hard and the team has done a lot of work on the car to get the absolute most out of it. This is a really good start to the weekend and it's good to get the point for the championship."
With Saturday's result, Power has now posted eight poles in back-to-back seasons to lead Team Penske.
While Power led qualifying on Saturday, his Team Penske teammates didn't fare quite as well. Helio Castroneves will start 16th, while Ryan Briscoe will line up 18th on Sunday's starting grid. Castroneves recorded a two-lap average of 216.685 mph in the No. 3 Cintas Team Penske machine.
"First of all, thanks to Team Penske and Cintas – we are honored to have them on board this weekend," said Castroneves, the defending race winner in Kentucky. "It was a very interesting qualifying session. We just didn't seem to have the speed we were hoping for out there today. The good news is our teammate, Will, got the pole, which is great for Team Penske. I think our car will be better in the race than it was in qualifying, so look for us to finish up front tomorrow."
Briscoe was clocked at 216.669 mph in the No. 6 Transitions Adaptive Lenses Team Penske machine.
"Congratulations to Will and the No. 12 Verizon guys – great result for them today," said Briscoe. "I want to thank my guys and Transitions Adaptive Lenses for supporting us. I have to say I am a bit confused why we're lacking that much speed. Our car setup was very similar to Will's and he clearly has a fast car. We definitely have some work to do to make sure we're ready for tomorrow. We will look at the data tonight and hopefully we'll find a bit more speed to run up front for the race."
Power will be looking for his series-leading sixth win of the season in Sunday's 200-lap race. He'll also be looking to score the two extra bonus points for leading the most laps to add to his lead in the battle for the series title. Just two races – Kentucky and Las Vegas on Oct. 16 – remain in the season.
"The Verizon car was definitely fast today," said Power. "We've also been working hard since our test here last week on getting our car better in traffic and hopefully we'll keep it going tomorrow and get a good result in the race."
Live coverage of Sunday's race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET on VERSUS.