WEST ALLIS, Wis. — official release — Al Steinberg photo — Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Will Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest.
Power, driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, recorded a two-lap average speed of 169.262 mph on the Milwaukee Mile for his third pole of the season and 35th of his Indy car career.
The 250-lap race at the Milwaukee Mile will be telecast by NBCSN at 3 p.m. (ET) Aug. 17.
“It’s just a great start to the three-race chase, you could say, for the championship finish,” said Power, who has a best finish of third in five starts at Milwaukee. “It’s traditionally a track position race. In practice it was definitely hard to pass so I can see you’re going to be in traffic all day.”
Power earned one bonus point for the pole and carries a five-point lead over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves heading into the 16th of 18 races this season. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, qualified eighth.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has won at Milwaukee the past two years and is third in the standings, qualified 19th in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car. Simon Pagenaud, who is fourth in the standings, qualified 16th and Juan Pablo Montoya, who is fifth in the standings, qualified third (168.579).
“I’ve been in this situation quite a few times. So has Helio and (teammate) Juan as well,” said Power, who was the championship runner-up three consecutive seasons. “But IndyCar is like that these days. It’s very tight. It’s so unpredictable. With three to go, I just think anything can happen. You just got to keep your head in the game and keep focused. That’s my plan.”
Tony Kanaan matched his season high by qualifying second (168.662 mph) in the No. 10 Huggies car. Montoya, driving the No. 2 PPG Team Penske car, will be joined on Row 2 by 2008 race winner Ryan Briscoe (168.266), who also matched his season-best qualifying position, in the No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
“When Will (Power) set that time I was surprised because I didn’t think that I could do that,” Kanaan said. “I knew the track was better (than practice), but that’s typical Milwaukee qualifying. I think we’ve got a chance tomorrow. We’re starting on the front row and we’ve just got to do our thing. We’ve been showing how quick we’ve been almost everywhere – we just need to get a little bit of luck on our side sometime. I think we have a good car and a chance to win.”