The IndyCar Series has returned home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to begin the Month of May.

While the excitement and buzz around the paddock will focus on the 106th running of the Indy 500 in just over two weeks, there is one more event before drivers hit the 2.5-mile oval. The GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course will again serve as the lead into the sport's premier race.

Will Power has been having a phenomenal start to the season, and that continued today when he earned pole position for tomorrow’s race. It is the 64th career pole for the Team Penske driver, as he inches closer to the top of the All-Time list. This will be the sixth time that Power leads the field to the green flag on the IMS road course.

"This series, it’s so tight," Power said. "So to get a pole these days, you know you’ve done a really good job. And the team has done a great job. I’m super-stoked. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pole on a road course. I worked hard on that one. You don’t even know if you’ll ever get another pole. I just feel very blessed and happy to have got it because it’s tough, and obviously I’m not 20 anymore either."

Championship points leader Alex Palou led the morning practice, and was fast when it mattered most during qualifying. The Chip Ganassi driver will start alongside Power on the front row tomorrow. Row 2 features good friends Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly. This was the second year in a row that Daly put his Ed Carpenter Racing machine inside the Firestone Fast Six.

"When you have a good qualifying, especially here at Indianapolis... This is an incredible track," Daly stated. "I truly believe that. It’s so close. It’s insane how the gaps are so small. It’s nice to be able to just put three solid runs together. It would have been nice to maybe be on the front row, but I just had one moment on the lap and that’s all it takes. It’s still a great day for us."

Row 3 belongs to Arrow McLaren SP, as Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist showed great speed on Friday. O'Ward, who led the afternoon practice session, is riding the wave of momentum following his victory in the last race at Barber Motorsports Park. The biggest surprise today was the pace of Callum Ilott and the Juncos Hollinger Racing team. They were 2nd fastest in the first practice session and qualified 7th, just missing out on the Firestone Fast Six.

"We’ve been putting it together,” Ilott said of their single-car team. "We had these building blocks in place, but we’re trying to figure out, like a game of Tetris, how to make the car work best for me and for the team. And what we realize is the road course car is better. We’ve got a good platform for that."

Christian Lundgaard made his IndyCar debut here last year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He qualified 4th last year and led the three-car team today and will start in 8th, alongside his new teammate Jack Harvey. Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten during qualifying, as the former Indy GP pole sitter tries to add to his two runner-up finishes here from a year ago.

Starting right behind Grosjean will be his buddy Graham Rahal. The two had a run in in the closing laps of the last race at Barber, and while the two have agreed to disagree about the incident, they are not exactly fond of each other. Scott McLaughlin starts between them in 11th, the last of the Penske cars.

It was an odd qualifying session for Andretti Autosport, who is still searching for their first victory on the 2.439-mile road course. Both Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi were strong in practice but when it came time to qualify, they failed to advance out of the first round. Herta starts 14th, Rossi 16th, and rookie Devlin DeFrancesco 17th. They weren't the only ones left puzzled during qualifying.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon will be starting from the 21st position tomorrow. "It’s just frustrating, man," Dixon admitted after qualifying 16th, 13th, and 21st in his last three races. "I think everybody can see that we’re making swings where we shouldn’t be. It’s just a different car every time you go out, so we’re trying to adjust for that and find the best balance. Honestly, it’s sucks right now. We’ve got to sort it out. When you qualify this far back, it’s just horrendous."


While ECR had a pleasant surprise with Daly's pace, it was the exact opposite for their other driver. Rinus VeeKay had his best day as an IndyCar driver here last year when he won this race to open up the month of May at the track. While he was quick in practice, his No. 21 Chevrolet was not fast enough to get out of the first round of qualifying, and will start 15th tomorrow.

“I honestly don’t know,” VeeKay said of their lack of speed in the session. "We went to the Firestone reds and I was honestly pretty happy with the car, pretty happy with my lap. I’m very confused right now. I don’t know what we did wrong. I have no words for it. We should have at least advanced through." Marcus Ericsson (18th) Helio Castroneves (19th), and Simon Pagenaud (20th) are some other big names that will have to come from the back of the field tomorrow.

The weather conditions today are not indicative of what teams will face tomorrow. With plenty of sunshine and temperatures nearing 90 degrees on Friday, the forecast for the race tomorrow will be much cooler, with a good chance of storms rolling in sometime in the afternoon.

The good news for Power and Palou is that seven of the 11 races on the IMS oval have been won by the front row. In fact, three of the four races this season have all been won by a driver starting on the front row.

Coverage for the GMR Grand Prix begins at 3 PM ET on NBC.