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Qualifying report
IndyCar Iowa I

IndyCar Iowa: Power takes poles for double-headers as Penske dominates

Team Penske’s Will Power set the fastest times in a rain-delayed qualifying for the IndyCar Series double-header races around Iowa Speedway to extend his record tally of poles.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Power topped the two-lap qualifying session around the 0.875-mile oval with a best lap of 17.7246s, which was a fastest speed of 181.578mph.

Power set the pace on both laps, which meant he takes pole position for each of the races. It also spelled series poles number 69 and 70 for the Australian, who credited his car’s balance for its speed.

The format for the double-headers was each driver getting two single-car laps, the first of which would set their position for the opening race and the second tour determining their position on Sunday’s grid.

Just as qualifying was about to begin at 8:30am local time, a heavy rain shower popped up and soaked the track. After track drying efforts, the session restarted just under two hours later.

Power produced 181.426mph on lap one and went even faster with 181.578mph on his second tour. “Could’ve been a little better, I was in between gears quite a lot,” he said.

Scott McLaughlin didn’t quite enjoy the speed of his fellow Antipodean team-mate, lapping in 180.334mph and 179.635mph to take P2 in both races. “Car felt good, I had a blast, but Will Power’s just a genius.”

The third Penske driver, Josef Newgarden – who was fastest in practice yesterday – could only manage laps of 180.081mph and 177.864mph, which put him third and seventh on the grids. “I just wasn’t quick enough, pretty simple,” he rued.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Scott Dixon was fourth-fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing for race one but fell to ninth for race two. Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren) lapped in 178.390mph and 177.217mph to take fifth and 11th.

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta developed “too much understeer” during his second lap, but managing two laps in the 178mph bracket means he starts in sixth and fifth respectively.

Championship dominator Alex Palou, who admits short ovals are his weakest suit, qualified seventh for race one but slumped to 12th on his second lap.

Romain Grosjean (Andretti) also had a huge drop-off between his laps of 0.2s, which is almost 2mph. “I had a big moment at Turn 3 on my second lap,” he confessed, and although he will start eighth for one race, will have to come from near the back on Sunday.

David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing) suffered a huge moment over the bumps at Turn 1 but bravely kept his foot in it. “I had a lot of ‘whoas’ because the car was bottoming-out a lot,” he admitted. “I made sure I avoided that bump on the second lap.”

His second lap propelled him to an excellent third on the grid for Sunday’s race, and will start today’s stanza from ninth. The other big anomaly was Ed Carpenter, who ran first in the qualifying order. His lap two speed put him fourth on the grid, whereas he was only 19th-fastest for race one.

Graham Rahal was the top Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry, grabbing sixth for race two, but will line up 13th today.

Ahead of the session, Rahal’s Jack Harvey was handed a nine-position grid penalty for his role in the first corner pileup at Toronto last weekend. He will start both races from the rear as a result.

Race one starts at 2:06pm local time (3:06am ET) today.

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