Castroneves pips Pagenaud for Pocono Pole

Helio Castroneves captured his 45th IndyCar pole for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway and leads an all Team Penske 1-2-3.

Teammate Simon Pagenaud set the pace with a 220.485 two lap average that was just a scant .1 mph clear of Will Power. Charlie Kimball initially laid down the fastest warmup lap of the day.

A fast warmup lap would lead to disaster as Kimball lost it in turn 3 and hit the outside wall head on and briefly went airborne. The rear of the #83 Chevrolet grazed the catchfencing, which brought qualifying to a halt for nearly an hour.

Kimball only suffered a minor cut on his chin but was not hurt otherwise.

After the fence was repaired, no one had anything for Pagenaud until Castroneves took to the track and nipped Pagenaud by just .045 mph to take his 4th pole of the season.

“I was very fortunate to have drawn last (in qualifying order of Team Penske drivers) and was able to collect some information from my boys,” said Castroneves. And at the end of the day, the Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Chevy is looking strong.

The Penske steam train was followed by Josef Newgarden, his best start on an oval all season. Graham Rahal’s title hopes took another turn for the better as he qualified smoothly in 5th place. Rahal led a Honda sweep of positions 5-9 and was followed by Carlos Munoz, Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato as Sebastien Bourdais completed the top 10.

Championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya was the only Penske car not in the top 5 and qualified in 19th place after a slow first lap dampened his two lap average.

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to along with The Motorsports Tribune.

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