Power leads Penske sweep in Sonoma qualifying
Sonoma, CA (Sports Network) - Will Power claimed his sixth pole of the season while his Team Penske teammates, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, finished second and third, respectively, in Saturday's qualifying session for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Infineon Raceway.
Power recorded a quick lap in one minute, 18.6017 seconds on the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Northern California road course for his 16th career pole in the series. The Australian started on the pole and won at this track one year ago.
"This was as perfect as it could go," Power said. "We were a little concerned after practice if we had the pace or not. We were mistake free and put good laps together [in qualifying]. That was the key to getting the quickest lap."
Castroneves earned his best starting position of the season with a lap of 1:19.0916.
"I'm extremely happy for Team Penske, certainly all three of us - Ryan, Will and myself - working really close together," he said.
While Penske drivers Power, Castroneves and Briscoe grabbed the top-three starting positions, Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon took the next two spots, with Franchitti starting fourth and Dixon fifth.
"My car was a handful, and we tried to get some kind of balance in it for the second [qualifying] run, and it actually got worse," Franchitti said. "It was worse again with the used red [tires] on the third run."
Franchitti enters Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma with a 47-point lead over Power. Dixon is 73 points behind the leader.
Rookie James Hinchcliffe qualified sixth, followed by Mike Conway, Sebastien Bourdais, E.J. Viso and Ana Beatriz.
Danica Patrick will start 25th in the 28-car field. Earlier this week, Patrick announced her intentions to run a full-time schedule in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and a partial schedule in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012.
08/27 20:05:31 ET