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Power captures pole for Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH (Sports Network) - Will Power endured a physical qualifying session on Saturday to win the pole for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Mid- Ohio Sports Car Course.

Power posted a lap time around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in 1 minute, 5.6474 seconds during the final "Fast Six" segment in qualifying. The Team Penske driver earned his third pole of the season but his first since the last weekend in April in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"I am so tired after this session that I am shaking," an exhausted Power said after earning his 27th career IndyCar pole. "This session today is the hardest I have tried all year. I just kept pushing and pushing. I had to. It is the most that I have put into a lap."

With just four races remaining, Power is third in the championship standings. He trails leader Ryan Hunter-Reay by 25 points. Power's third and most recent race win also came in Brazil.

"We needed that pole, and it is so important to start up front to keep pushing, if we have a chance for the championship," he noted.

Power's best finish at Mid-Ohio is second, which came two years ago.

Three of the races left on this year's schedule will be contested on road/street courses. Power has been dominant on these types of racetracks. After Mid-Ohio, the series will run in Sonoma, Calif. (Aug. 26) and Baltimore (Sept. 2).

Dario Franchitti, the four-time IndyCar champion and 2010 Mid-Ohio race winner, will share the front row with Power after his lap time of 1:05.8950. Franchitti has finished no worse than third in his four previous races here. He placed second to Scott Dixon, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, last year.

"The car was good," Franchitti said. "Having to run Q3 on the same set of tires, they were pretty much gone already. We tried to make a few changes, but the front tires were worn. I think we have something in the back pocket, which will be good for our starting spot."

Rookie Simon Pagenaud qualified a career-best third, followed by Alex Tagliani, Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais. Hunter-Reay, who has won three of the last four races, placed eighth.

"The race is going to be very close, and I thinks it's going to be interesting," said Hunter-Reay, who presently holds a 23-point lead over Helio Castroneves. "It will take qualifying laps for the whole race, because the field is so tight. We're disappointed not to make the Fast Six, but we expected the field to be close, because of the open test here (last week). We're going to make the most of it tomorrow."

Marco Andretti and rookie Josef Newgarden completed the top-10.

Castroneves, who won two weeks ago in Edmonton, qualified 13th, but Castroneves received a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change. He will start 23rd in the 25-car field.

Earlier in the day, Castroneves suffered a bruised hand during an accident in practice.

"Unfortunately when (Mike) Conway was coming out of the pits, he didn't know where to go," Castroneves said. "He was trying to help me, but it ended up hurting me, because he was chasing one line to give me room. Everywhere I would pull, it ended up being the line he would take to help.

"It's one of those instances where it's better to keep your line and not try to help each other. I didn't have enough time to brake, and I hit him on the back, and the steering knob was kind of like whiplash, and I hit my hand. Thank God it's not broken."

Tagliani was also penalized for an engine change. He will start 14th.

The start of Sunday's 85-lap race at Mid-Ohio is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET). However, the weather could be a factor. According to the National Weather Service, there is an 80 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

08/04 16:41:54 ET

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