Will Power put Penske at the top of the timesheets for Sunday afternoon's 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto, extending the Australian's clean sweep of road and street courses in 2011 with his fifth pole of the year and a time of 59.5771 in the final shootout, 0.0875s ahead of Scott Dixon.
"Man, we really had to work hard for that in the Verizon car. It's really good to win a pole here. I've never won a pole here in Toronto and I love this place," said Power afterwards. "This is such a physical track - it's a real driver's track with all the different surfaces and all the bumps, you really need to wring it's neck out there and that's what I love about it. When you turn a fast lap here, you're really just exhausted."
However, he sounded a note of caution to anyone thinking it would be possible for him to run away and hide during the race: "It's great to be on pole here but this is a track where you can really pass a lot of cars and move forward from the back," he insisted. "We still have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
But while Power's dominance was irrefutable, it seemed to be rather down to the man himself and not the Penske team as a whole, with both his team mates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves failing to make it through to the final shootout.
"Unfortunately, we just had a dissapointing second session of qualifying," said Briscoe. "We were strong in the first session ... we didn't touch the car, but when we went back out we just lost a ton of rear grip. It's tough to not make it into the Fast Six, but we'll make sure we have a good car for the race tomorrow and see how we can work our way forward."
"We had a good lap going in the Penske Truck Rental car, unfortunately we went a little too far in what we were trying to do," explained Castroneves for his part. "We definitely have a car that is better than 12th on the starting grid. We have been quick all weekend. Tomorrow should be good, though. We just need to have a good day in the pits, drive smart and let the race come to us."
With five different teams represented in the Firestone Fast Six final shootout, Ganassi were the only team to put two drivers in to the final round, and Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti finished second and third respectively and will be hot on Power's heels come the green flag for the race.
"Both Target cars were good ... just missed a little," said Dixon, disappointed not to head off Power's latest pole position. "We had a tenth on the last lap and I gave it back on turns five and six. At least we're in the hunting distance of the #12 car."
"It's tough out there, it's very close," said Franchitti for his part. "I think my car was pretty fast, I just had to get into that rhythm of making that brake in that one place," he continued, saying that here was nothing amiss with the performance of the car and instead taking the blame for missing pole on himself. "I just missed a little bit and you can see the difference."