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Power takes pole in St Pete

Will Power's domination of the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg weekend continued into qualifying.
Will Power continued his strong start to the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg weekend by claiming the PEAK Pole Award on the 1.8-mile street course alongside scenic Tampa Bay.

The Australian, having gone fastest on the opening day, posted a best lap of 1min 01.6026secs in the final phase of the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session to claim the third pole position of his short IndyCar Series career. Previous top spots have led to victory in Edmonton and second place in Long Beach, and Power has already shown his prowess on street circuits this year by winning the season-opener in Sao Paulo two weeks ago. Power has topped every practice session this weekend, and set the track qualifying record for St Petersburg in the second round of qualifications at 1min 01.4816secs.

"It's a good weekend so far for Verizon Team Penske," the Australian admitted, "We're still at the front, so I'm very happy. It's been a process. We've been working away at it and go through each session and look after our 'reds'. I came away with pole, and we would have been disappointed if we didn't given our pace this weekend."

Tony Kanaan, who also participated in the Firestone Fast Six in Brazil, will join Power on the front row for the 100-lap race after posting a lap of 1min 01.8797secs in Andretti Autosport's Team 7-Eleven car. It was the Brazilian's best starting spot on a road/street circuit since winning the pole for the St Pete event in 2008.

"It feels good," he admitted, "I haven't started on the front row in a while, so I think we did a great job. We took a gamble on the tyres, and went out on the blacks in the Fast Six, but it paid off. It's nice to have Michael Andretti there because I was keen to start on the reds, and he said 'no, no, we're going to the blacks', and we can't say 'no' to the boss. It's a whole different atmosphere on the #11 team right now. I am enjoying it. Hopefully, no-one had hits me from behind like in Brazil, and we will be able to have a good race tomorrow."

Scott Dixon will make a series-record 34th consecutive top ten start from third spot, while Justin Wilson will line up alongside the Kiwi in the best of the Dreyer & Reinbold entries.

"I think the team did a good job, as we had a seventh‑place car and worked on it," Dixon commented, "It generally got better, and I like to think I generally race better than qualifying, because qualifying has been pretty bad the last few years on street courses. I'm looking forward to the race, but I think weather is going to be an issue, so it might stir it up a little bit like Brazil."

Wilson reported that his #22 car felt 'really good', and that he was 'happy with the progress we made in the week's session', but felt that he could have been higher up the grid had it not been for a problem he really didn't want to have on a tight street course.

"We decided to run on the black tyres, because we were being a bit too hard on our red options," the Briton revealed, "I came out ninth, went down to 10:10 on my second lap - and the brake pedal went all the way down to the bulkhead! I just didn't have enough brakes there, and it just got worse and worse as the run went on. Every trip around was an adventure and, in the end, I decided to come in and park the car. I couldn't get the job done and thought it best to not put it in the wall trying to find one position on the grid."




Related Pictures

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Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: IRL/Helrigel]
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The #12 Penske crew celebrate title success (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship title (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power wheel-to-wheel with Graham Rahal (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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