Will Power, whose drive to an IZOD IndyCar Series' record three consecutive victories was derailed at Barber Motorsports Park, got back on track with pole position for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Power, driving the #12 Verizon Team Penske car, recorded a lap of 1min 09.3185secs in the ten-minute Firestone Fast Six shoot-out on the 1.968-mile street circuit to earn the PEAK Performance Pole Award.
"We certainly have the car figured out, and I'm very happy that the Verizon car is P1 again," the Australian said, "We've got to get the strategy right this weekend. I know sometimes it's really hard to read, but we need to keep executing in races."
Power, who won at Long Beach in 2008, recorded his third consecutive pole start - Dario Franchitti was P1 in Brazil - and edged closer to the series record of four held by Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves and former IRL regular Billy Boat.
"I think the key to success is starting up front," Power said, "But I also think you've got to get the lucky yellow. You can be out front leading and 'bam', you get caught by a yellow. You could see it last weekend. Strategy can screw you, but it also can go your way."
Power earned the pole by more than four-tenths of a second over practice pacesetter Ryan Hunter-Reay, but less than three-tenths of a second separated second through fifth positions on the grid. Just 1.6secs separated Power from 23rd-place starter Mario Romancini.
"Saving a set of 'reds' for the Firestone Fast Six, that's important," the Australian admitted, "It gives you a good chance to get the pole so, if you're quick enough, you have to [use the black-wall tyres in round one of qualifying]. You've got to take the risk to get through on the 'blacks' - they take longer to come on, but actually they're pretty quick. They're good."
Hunter-Reay, driving the #37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport, notched a season-best second starting position, while Dreyer & Reinbold's Justin Wilson tied his season best with third in the #22 Z-Line Designs car. Castroneves will join the Briton on row two.
"This feels good," Hunter-Reay admitted, "We just weren't in a position to gamble with our last set of 'reds' the way Will did. Had we been able to save them, I think we could have been right there fighting with him, but we needed to use ours earlier in the session. The IZOD guys have done a great job this weekend. We're stuck to our guns and the car has been so much fun to drive. It's one that I'm really enjoying and hopefully it will be a good, consistent car tomorrow."