Power claims third straight Sonoma pole
Sonoma, CA (Sports Network) - Will Power won the pole position at Sonoma's road course for the third straight year, while his teammate, Ryan Briscoe, qualified second to give Team Penske a sweep of the front starting row for Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series race.
Power, who has started on the pole and won the last two races at this 2.31- mile, 12-turn road course, turned a lap in 1 minute, 17.2709 seconds. The Australian is making his 100th career IndyCar start.
"It's great when you're in the Fast Six that you give it everything you got," Power said. "You go as hard as you can for as many laps as you can. It's great to get the car on pole. It's important around here. The windows for strategies tomorrow are going to be wide open, because they increased the race by 10 laps."
Power captured his fourth pole of the season and the 28th of his IndyCar career. He started up front for the most recent race on Aug. 5 at Mid-Ohio. Power will enter the 85-lap Sonoma race with a six-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay.
"It is important to start up front here," he said. "I just really like this track, and I would love to make it three in a row.
Briscoe posted a lap in 1:17.4347. Sebastien Bourdais from Dragon Racing broke up Penske's sweep of the top-three starting positions. Bourdais was clocked at 1:17.7497, while Helio Castroneves' lap in 1:18.1090 earned him the fourth spot.
In last year's race at Sonoma, Power led a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium for Penske. Castroneves finished second, while Briscoe placed third.
Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti qualified fifth and sixth, respectively. Dixon, who won at Mid-Ohio, trails Power by 29 points. Castroneves is 27 points behind.
"I'm happy with the balance of the car, but we're just lacking grip," Dixon said.
Hunter-Reay qualified seventh. Alex Tagliani, rookie Simon Pagenaud and Justin Wilson completed the top-10. Wilson, however, was one of four drivers who received a 10-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change. Takuma Sato, Sebastian Saavedra and Simona de Silvestro were also penalized for engine changes.
The Sonoma race is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
08/25 19:52:43 ET