Will Power was quite unbeatable on the 2.04-mile, 13-turn track temporary street circuit in Balitmore, topping each stage of qualifying in which he ran by an emphatic margin and ultimately claiming pole position with a lap of 1:17.9750s (94.184mph) in the Firestone Fast Six pole shootout over half a second clear of the competition.
"Starting from the pole it is a lot easier to control your own destiny," said Power afterwards. "We'll focus on the job at hand and think about this race and doing the best we can - the best I can and the best that the team can.
It's his fifth pole of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, and the 29th of his carrer in the series putting him on an equal footing with Dario Franchitti, and eighth in the all-time list.
But while he made it look easy - and in particular stayed out of trouble with the brand new chicane introduced on the frontstretch overnight, which caught out several other drivers during Saturday - Power said that the street circuit was a major physical challenge.
"This track is very physical, there are lots of turns and not many straights, especially now that they have added the chicane," he said. "But it is the same for everyone. It's going to be a good show for the Baltimore fans and we'll be plenty busy in the cars tomorrow afternoon. We'll be looking forward not back, that's for sure."
Mike Conway performed impressively in the AJ Foyt Racing #14 to post the second fastest time in round 3, but a grid penalty for an unapproved engine change will drop him down to 12th for the start of the race.
"Happy to get second, but with the engine change will be 12th. That's a bit annoying," the English driver admitted. "Could have been a front-row start. But it is what it is, the same for everyone. It is just going to make our day tomorrow a bit more challenging so we will see where we stack up during the first few laps on what we are going to do strategy."
The team will also have to put in some hours before the start of the race, as Conway was one of the drivers to get caught out by the curbing around the new chicane and jolted sideways into the wall, causing some major damage to the car that will need repairs. Conway will be hoping that it doesn't radically alter the handling of the car, which he said had been spot-on from the start.
"We got it out this morning and the balance was really good, so we didn't really change anything this weekend," he said. "Just sort of working on getting around the track and the challenge of the chicane. We were just trying to find a little bit more there on the last lap, and went too much."
Scott Dixon will inherit the vacant front row slot as a result of Conway's penalty.