Simon Pagenaud captured his first pole in nearly a year and his first pole on an oval during qualifying for Saturday’s MavTV 500.
The Frenchman logged the fastest lap of the day at a 219.112 mph average time and backed it up on his second lap with a 218.792 average to complete a 218.952 pole winning average.
“Thanks to my crew for the preparations and it’s exciting to get a superspeedway pole,” said Pagenaud. “Qualifying is one thing. It’s a reward for performance. We have a 500-mile race and hopefully I can reward the team for its hard work. It’s a brand new team that is gelling really well.
“This (pole) is nice, but frankly, you can win from the back in a 500-mile race like (Juan Pablo) Montoya did (in the Indianapolis 500). Being able to run in different lanes and being smart in traffic is going to be key.”
Helio Castroneves locked out an all Team Penske front row with a second place qualifying run while Marco Andretti carried the flag for Honda and backed up his performance earlier in the day in practice with a stellar 3rd place starting position.
Hoping to put the memories of his last run at Texas behind him, Ed Carpenter qualified in 4th place, his best starting position since Texas in 2014 when he won his last race and following him is Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya in 5th.
Chip Ganassi Racing claimed the next two positions with Scott Dixon qualifying in 6th place after pacing the field in second practice this afternoon and Tony Kanaan will attempt to defend his MavTV 500 crown from 7th place.
2013 MavTV 500 champ Will Power will roll off in 8th place and behind him will be the second fastest Honda of Takuma Sato, who had the 5th fastest first lap of the day but last some speed on his second lap.
As did Sage Karam, who will start in 10th place, his best starting spot of his career.
A few disappointments included Ryan Briscoe, who was fastest in the morning practice but only managed to qualify in 16th place. Graham Rahal also struggled on the day and only managed to qualify in 19th place.