Helio Castroneves and Team Penske dominate Road America qualifying

Helio Castroneves led a Team Penske dominated qualifying capturing his 50th career pole. Will Power came in at 2nd place with Newgarden and Pagenaud not far off. The only drivers not a part of Penske to take part in the fast six were Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal.

Round 1 group 1 of qualifying saw Will Power and Josef Newgarden put a stamp of authority on the rest of the grid. Newgarden coming in 2nd during the session was clear of Ryan Hunter-Reay by 4 tenths. Alexander Rossi who won the opening practice would struggle for pace. Unfortunately for Rossi, he would end in 8th at the end of the session not moving on to round 2. Esteban Gutiérrez returning to Dale Coyne Racing ended up 9th missing out on advancing to round two. Moving onto round two of qualifying was Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Max Chilton, Graham Rahal, and Marco Andretti.

Group 2 had a similar feel to group 1 with Team Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves topping the session. Rookie Ed Jones continued to impress getting into the 5th position sending him into round two of qualifying. Shocking was Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato both missing out on advancing to round two. Moving on would be Pagenaud, Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball, Ed Jones, and James Hinchcliffe.

Round 2 once again showed that Team Penske had the number of the IndyCar field. Team Penske locked out the top 4 with the closest rival being Scott Dixon. Max Chilton came close to the Firestone Fast 6 missing out by less than a tenth. Marco Andretti tied his season best 8th place in qualifying and was the fastest Andretti Autosport driver on the day.

The Firestone Fast Six saw Helio Castroneves beat out teammate Will Power by 0.0604 to win the pole. Newgarden and Pagenaud were both off their teammates but with still a comfortable gap to rival Scott Dixon. Graham Rahal would be a full 3 seconds off of Power in 6th place.

“To be mentioned in the same sentence as Bobby, Mario, and A.J., it’s just so amazing, To get 51 pole positions – did I say 51? Sorry, it’s a bad habit. Anyway, you guys know what I’m talking about. Just to show incredible team effort. I cannot take the credit by myself. If I didn’t have Will, Josef, Simon onboard, I wouldn’t be able to do it because, as we all talk about, I know sometimes you guys think, ‘C’mon, you share information,’ but you still have to lay down a lap.
“We learn so much from each other,” said Castroneves.

Qualifying Results

1. Helio Castroneves
2. Will Power
3. Josef Newgarden
4. Simon Pagenaud
5. Scott Dixon
6. Graham Rahal
7. Max Chilton
8. Marco Andretti
9. James Hinchcliffe
10. Charlie Kimball
11. Ed Jones
12. Ryan Hunter-Reay
13. Carlos Munoz
14. Spencer Pigot
15. Alexander Rossi
16. Tony Kanaan
17. Esteban Gutiérrez
18. JR Hildebrand
19. Mikhail Aleshin
20. Takuma Sato
21. Conor Daly


Image Credit – Chris Jones –

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