Power takes 50th pole of his career

MADISON — Will Power took the 50th pole of his career Friday night, leading Team Penske to a four-team, two-row sweep in qualifying for the IndyCar race Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.

The 36-year-old Australian set a track record with a two-lap run of 47.4579 seconds at 189.642 mph on the newly paved 1.25-mile oval. Power has six poles this season.

“It was not like it was uncomfortable,” said Power, who was quickest in practice (24.2521 for one lap at 185.551 mph) and the last to hit the track for qualifying. “I’m very happy for the pole. Qualifying is something I really enjoy. Qualifying is something we (the team) can give absolutely everything.”

Points leader Josef Newgarden will start on the outside of the front row after a run of 47.7921 seconds at 188.316 mph,

Helio Castroneves was third, and Simon Pagneaud fourth to complete the Penske sweep.

Newgarden said he wished he was the one who had the last shot at qualifying. Instead he was second to last after running second in the only practice session.

“It’s always the best to go last on a short oval,” Newgarden said. “You get the most rubber. You get the coolest track temperature. I knew he had a shot. I was hoping he didn’t get it done. But I knew he had a great shot.”

Ed Carpenter was fifth.

Sebastien Bourdais qualified 19th in his return from injuries sustained in an accident in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. He fractured his pelvis and right hip in the crash.

With three races left, including Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park, Castroneves sits third in the points with 472 — 22 behind leader Josef Newgarden and four back of second-place Scott Dixon.

“We’re in a battle here,” Castroneves said Friday before qualifying. “There are a lot of points to go with three races). Right now, we’ve got to keep scoring points and doing what we’re doing. It’s still up in the air. It’s not for lack of trying. Not for a lack of being competitive.”

IndyCar is back at the track in Madison for the first time since 2003, when Castroneves held off Tony Kanaan and Gil de Ferran for the win — the last 1-2-3 Brazilian sweep in the series. — Agencies