Castroneves storms to IndyCar pole at Pocono

Helio Castroneves
Michael L. Levitt/LAT

With an average speed of 220.530 miles per hour, Helio Castroneves led a Team Penske one-two-three in winning pole position for tomorrow's ABC Supply Co. 500 at Pocono Raceway. It was the 45th career pole for the driver of the #3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet.

Simon Pagenaud was second a mere .01s behind Castroneves with Will Power third. Josef Newgarden made it a Chevrolet sweep of the top-4, with Graham Rahal the quickest Honda in fifth.

Series championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya had a difficult session, and will start tomorrow's race 19th. The session was delayed for around 40 minutes after a scary accident by Charlie Kimball caused damage to the Turn 3 catch fence. The #83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet sustained significant damage, however Kimball escaped needing only two stitches on his chin.

Helio Castroneves earned his fourth Verizon P1 Award of the season with a two-lap average speed of 220.530 mph (1 minute, 21.6217 seconds) on the 2.5-mile triangular oval in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet.

Castroneves bumped Simon Pagenaud (220.485 mph) in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet from the provisional pole. Earlier in the session, Will Power recorded a two-lap average speed of 220.398 mph in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and will start third.

"I was able to collect some information from (Power and Pagenaud) and at the end of the day we're strong, we're solid and I can't wait for the race," said Castroneves, who secured his 45th career pole in his 310th Indy car start.

Next up for the Verizon IndyCar Series will be final practice from 5:30-6 p.m. local time.

POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet, Verizon P1 Award winner): "It was a good day. It was a solid run, man. I could not believe it, especially with the delay. Good thing Charlie (Kimball) is OK. When you start building up anxiety with the wind picking up, you don't know what's going to happen, you're like, 'Oh, boy, let's get going.' Thankfully, everybody did an excellent job fixing the track and we were able to continue qualifying. With that, the car was unbelievable, flawless. Basically like I said, 'Don't lift, just keep going."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, second fastest): "It was a good run. This morning we did a good job on the Penske Truck Rental car, understanding how it's going to work in traffic and during the race. Quite challenging now is the rear bumper (of the car is now) filled up. It makes it very difficult in traffic. The car was great. It was an interesting run. We had a bit of a scrub in Turn 1, a bit of a lift. We missed the balance there a little bit, but then the car was really fast overall, just had too much (tire) degradation on the second lap to hold onto it. Super proud of the guys and Team Penske, 1-2-3 (in qualifying). Good job for the team on the car preparation."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "You can't really know what's going to happen. We've done a really good job all year, like everybody else, had ups and downs, and we'll see what it brings."

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "Obviously, I am disappointed not to be able to qualify. We had a great car this morning in practice. It was well balanced and we were trimming it even more for qualifying. Then on my last run, my last outing, I crashed and we couldn't get it repaired in time for the qualifying session. We will start from the back of the field tomorrow, but it is a 500-mile race so anything can happen."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): "Qualifying today was a little so-so. We didn't quite hit the balance. The first practice session flew by so quick and we never got our qual sim in, so just missed the balance a little bit in qualifying. I felt like we had the right amount of downforce on it and we had good speed. I just had to lift in Turn 1 because of the understeer. That kind of hurt us, but we were able to relay that feedback back to the No. 7 car (teammate James Jakes) and I think it helped them out. I think qualifying could've been better but the car felt reasonably strong and we had good speed, so hopefully that will translate into a good race."

JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "Not a bad session for the No. 7 SPM Oculus Honda. It wasn't quite what we were hoping for, but I think it was better than this morning. I think we can have a good race and get back into the top 10. It's going to be a long day tomorrow, 500 miles, so I'm looking forward to it and the weather's good. We've got another practice session today at 5:30, so hopefully we can improve the balance some more."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Chevrolet): "It was a good effort from the Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing crew. We had a bit of trouble at the end of the practice this morning, so we didn't really know what we had for qualifying. We had a very disconnected car, in practice, understeer, oversteer and in qualifying the car was very free, but pretty solid. I didn't play too much with the adjustments, so no complaints. I am just happy to have managed two flat out laps, which I have never done at Pocono in qualifying until today. It is a 500-mile race, so you never know what can happen. Hopefully we can have a good race and stay in contention for a top-five finish in the championship."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a very good run. We had a very good morning practice session and the car improved with every run. We were confident for qualifying. Obviously it is always a balance between downforce and drag. The car was sliding a bit, but I was able to control it and was satisfied with the lap. So good job to all the ABC Supply boys and engineers for making the car very fast. Hopefully we'll have a good car in the race."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda): "That was a good qualifying session for sure. To get the Steak 'n Shake Honda in the top-five feels really was good. I definitely think the aero efficiency of the Chevy has an advantage over us here, but my guys did a great job to get us a starting spot up front, particularly engineers Mike (Talbott) and (race engineer) Eddie (Jones) who chose a good downforce level (for qualifying). We didn't shoot for it all. I told them 'Let's be conservative, let's get some good laps and we'll be alright.' To be the top Honda feels good again but we've got a big day tomorrow, I've got to make up some points and I think we can do it. We have to chase down Juan (Montoya) in the points. Obviously qualifying didn't go his way but Juan is one heck of a competitor and I know he will be there right on our heels tomorrow. This is a relief. Starting practice today we were so slow I was really concerned, but all of a sudden the car came to life."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "It's hard when you get into these two-day shows and we've been behind since we got here. After our qualifying run, it is back to the drawing board. I have to do a better job, we all have to do a better job. Hopefully, I have a better practice later, but we certainly have a lot of work to do."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): "Definitely looking forward to the race tomorrow. I've got to thank Andretti Autosport and Honda; the car is working really well here. I'm really pleased with it. Hopefully we can keep making a couple more tweaks and get even better for this evening's practice, and do some race running. I think it will be a good race."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): "I think I was expecting a little lower (speeds), I was expecting 218s. The car was really good, we changed some stuff on warm-up. I love this track. I've always been competitive here, so I'm OK with qualifying. I think we did the best with what we had and tomorrow is a 500-mile race, so we will see what can happen."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "(On the first lap) the car went down into (Turn) 1 and it just didn't turn. It really caught me off guard — I almost hit the wall with the right front (tire). I just had to really pedal it and save it. To regather it and still have one more lap to go … it was a long run. I think we got a little greedy, but luckily it's 500 miles of racing tomorrow."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I think that was a good run. We could have been a little bit better maybe, but you have to be careful. Especially considering what happened with Charlie (Kimball) there – you can overstep it here. It's a fine line. Usually for 500-mile races it's not a big deal for qualifying, you don't put much emphasis on it, but here it's very tough to pass sometimes. They don't call it the Tricky Triangle for nothing."

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a pretty solid run, the car felt pretty good. It was really nice through Turn 3, OK through Turn 2 and probably a little too much understeer in Turn 1. It seems like the wind picked up on my run because I had to change my gear strategy during the run. Once I did that, the second lap was a little bit better. It felt like we had a little too much downforce as well, but it should be a good race car for tomorrow."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): "The No. 67 Chevrolet has been really good. We had a tough first session there, trying to get on top of all of the changes we needed to make and everything that was going on with the car. We didn't roll off like we wanted to, but I feel bad now because we were really fast during our qualifying run. I think the car had another half-mile per hour, maybe a mile per hour, in it. We were shooting in the dark a little bit, we did the best we could. We have a great team, we always come back really strong when we don't start that well. I am happy with that, I hope that keeps us up towards the top of the pecking order."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): "I'm all right, just a little disappointed. Really disappointed. Went into (Turn) 1 and the car caught me out a little bit with the handling, so I made some adjustments and I don't know if it was the wind or what caught me going into (Turn) 3. Maybe I was a little aggressive, but it's qualifying. You have to go for it. I'm really disappointed for the whole Novo Nordisk team. I know a lot of guys from Novo Nordisk are coming up and the car was really fast this morning. That's the good thing about having a crew like Chip Ganassi Racing behind you. I know that the car they pull out of the trailer will be just as good."

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): "So, all in all, considering where we were in practice, I'm happy with the changes to the Bowers & Wilkins Castrol EDGE car before qualifying. I think we've found a bit of direction of which way to take the setup and keep improving. We want to be higher up, but we'll take this improvement and see what we can do for the race."

Results

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Pos No Name Speed Laps Warmup Lap 1 Lap 2 Team
1 3 Helio Castroneves 220.530 2 219.289 220.426 220.634 Team Penske
2 22 Simon Pagenaud 220.485 2 218.758 220.739 220.232 Team Penske
3 1 Will Power 220.398 2 215.896 220.353 220.443 Verizon Team Penske
4 67 Josef Newgarden 220.141 2 217.323 219.628 220.655 CFH Racing
5 15 Graham Rahal 220.118 2 218.876 220.103 220.133 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
6 26 Carlos Munoz 219.831 2 218.227 219.794 219.869 Andretti Autosport
7 25 Justin Wilson 219.685 2 217.244 219.737 219.632 Andretti Autosport
8 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 219.672 2 216.934 219.729 219.616 Andretti Autosport
9 14 Takuma Sato 219.578 2 217.716 219.700 219.455 AJ Foyt Enterprises
10 11 Sebastien Bourdais 219.521 2 216.189 219.556 219.485 KVSH Racing
11 9 Scott Dixon 218.969 2 216.105 218.646 219.293 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
12 10 Tony Kanaan 218.816 2 217.524 218.584 219.048 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
13 19 Tristan Vautier 218.596 2 216.167 218.737 218.456 Dale Coyne Racing
14 41 Jack Hawksworth 218.331 2 216.877 218.155 218.507 AJ Foyt Enterprises
15 7 James Jakes 218.246 2 217.227 218.264 218.228 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
16 98 Gabby Chaves 218.152 2 216.078 217.717 218.589 BHA with Curb-Agajanian
17 18 Pippa Mann 217.372 2 216.674 217.453 217.291 Dale Coyne Racing
18 5 Ryan Briscoe 217.241 2 215.989 216.559 217.928 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
19 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 217.194 2 217.638 215.123 219.306 Team Penske
20 8 Sage Karam 216.401 2 214.153 216.022 216.780 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
21 20 Ed Carpenter 216.315 2 212.818 216.459 216.171 CFH Racing
22 27 Marco Andretti 215.101 2 214.128 212.370 217.903 Andretti Autosport
23 83 Charlie Kimball 219.139 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams

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