Sonoma IndyCar: Will Power claims season finale pole for Penske

Will Power crushed the Sonoma track record as he claimed pole for Sunday's IndyCar finale, while points-leading Penske team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya shares row three with main rival Graham Rahal

Sonoma IndyCar: Will Power claims season finale pole for Penske

On a day where the previous record of 1m17.1s - also held by Power - had already been reset to 1m16.8s by Ryan Hunter-Reay in practice, Power found another 0.6s to put the new marker at 1m16.2597s.

Remarkably, he set the time on a set of stickered black tyres, rather than on the softer-compound reds that usually come to the fore in qualifying.

"Our strategy was to do two runs on the used reds but then Josef did [a run on the blacks] and went quicker, so we had no choice," Power said.

"If [Newgarden] had done it at the end, he would have got pole. He kind of showed us the way."

POINTS ANALYSIS: How the IndyCar title can be won

Until Power's last-minute lap, Josef Newgarden appeared set to make first place his own after clocking a 1m16.3964s just before the end of the session.

"Getting pole would have helped [my title hopes]," said Newgarden, who still has an outside chance at the championship.

"That was really disappointing at the end there.

"Power did a great job, he's incredible around here, but I thought we might have had something for him. That was tough. We have a really good car."

Hunter-Reay was third-fastest alongside Simon Pagenaud, while Montoya's gamble on not leaving the pits until the final three minutes failed to lift him any higher than fifth.

"We have to be smart, we have to be patient and see what it brings," he said.

Rahal, meanwhile, conceded that starting alongside Montoya will give him more work to do in the race, although he is optimistic that having done his qualifying run on the reds could translate into an advantage when he has an extra set of new tyres on Sunday.

"We changed [the car] quite a bit but we've been struggling to get a good balance here this weekend," he said.

"I'm disappointed to be sixth but tomorrow is a new day.

"The car was pretty good on new tyres but on the second run we had a lot of fall-off. I don't know why.

"And a lot of guys were using the new blacks for some reason and we have another set for tomorrow, so either they're making a wrong move or we are."

Of the six remaining championship contenders, the two with the most to do are Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.

Dixon had made it through to the second phase but had his best lap ruined when he encountered dirt all over the track at Turn 6, leaving him to start from ninth.

Castroneves, meanwhile, failed to make it out of the first group, and his title hopes now hinge on how well he can recover from starting 15th.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.2597s -
2 Josef Newgarden CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.3964s 0.1367s
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.5254s 0.2657s
4 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.6683s 0.4086s
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.8437s 0.5840s
6 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m17.1769s 0.9172s
7 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.6669s -
8 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.8710s -
9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.9677s -
10 Sebastian Saavedra Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.1596s -
11 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2899s -
12 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m17.3302s -
13 Luca Filippi CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.1077s -
14 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.3885s -
15 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2550s -
16 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.4310s -
17 Ryan Briscoe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.4886s -
18 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m17.5599s -
19 Oriol Servia Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m17.5724s -
20 Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.8293s -
21 Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m17.7994s -
22 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.8968s -
23 Tristan Vautier Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.9876s -
24 Rodolfo Gonzalez Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m18.3867s -
25 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m19.0408s -

CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Juan Pablo Montoya 500
2 Graham Rahal 466
3 Scott Dixon 453
4 Will Power 439
5 Helio Castroneves 423
6 Josef Newgarden 413


shares
comments
Sonoma IndyCar: Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay flies in practice two
Previous article

Sonoma IndyCar: Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay flies in practice two

Next article

How the 2015 IndyCar title can be won

How the 2015 IndyCar title can be won
Load comments
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over Plus

Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over

OPINION: The 2021 IndyCar silly season has been one of the silliest for many years, as many talented drivers remain in play – with new pieces to the puzzle being added all the time. Here's what we know so far about who will end up where in 2022

IndyCar
Sep 15, 2021
Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears Plus

Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears

OPINION: The rise of two drivers racing only their second full-season IndyCar campaigns to head the points with four races to go has led to some observers doubting the credentials of the old guard. But they haven't faded away, there's merely a deeper talent pool that is helping to make this season one of the best in recent years

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021