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Castroneves remains on a roll with Barber pole

Leeds, AL (Sports Network) - Six days after winning the season-opener at St. Petersburg, FL, Helio Castroneves continued his momentum in the IZOD IndyCar Series by claiming the pole for Sunday's race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Castroneves posted the quickest lap in one minute, 10.4768 seconds during the third and final qualifying session (The Fast Six) to earn his 36th career IndyCar pole but his first since September 2010 at Motegi, Japan, a race that he ended up winning.

The Team Penske driver benefited from a chaotic session in Q2 when his teammate, Will Power, had his last lap time in that session erased due to a caution that came out with less than two minutes remaining. Power was on his way to making it into Q3 during his last run, but after Ryan Hunter-Reay spun around and came to a stop between turns eight and nine on the 2.38-mile road course, the red-flag was displayed, which ended up negating Power's time.

"We made some changes, and that put us good for the second qualifying [session]," Castroneves said. "In the end, Will and some other competitors not making it was tough, and it is better being lucky than good."

Castroneves ended his lengthy 18-race winless streak at St. Petersburg.

Power set a new track record with a lap at 1:09.829 during Q1. He was also the quickest during Friday's practice sessions. Power will start a disappointing ninth.

"It's a pretty frustrating qualifying result," said Power, who started on the pole for this race in 2010 and '11. "Man, we had a great car. We had a good first [qualifying] session, and we were ready to fight for the pole. It's definitely going to be tough starting ninth, but we know we've got a fast car. We have to have a good start and be strong on the restarts and hopefully work our way up front."

Last Sunday, Power started on the pole at St. Petersburg, but his early-race pit strategy backfired, as he fell deep into the field and never fully recovered from there. He finished seventh.

Power won last year's race at Barber, leading all 90 laps.

James Hinchcliffe will start on the front row for the first time in his early IndyCar career. Hinchcliffe, who is in his first season with Andretti Autosport, turned a lap in 1:10.5222 for the outside pole.

"It's a great start for us to be on the outside of the front row," said Hinchcliffe, who won rookie-of-the-year honors in IndyCar in 2011. "It's a great result after the way practice went [on Friday] and being rained out, then being fogged out this morning. We only had 14 dry laps coming into qualifying."

Scott Dixon from Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Mike Conway from A.J. Foyt Enterprises will start from row two, while Panther Racing's J.R. Hildebrand and KV Racing Technology driver Tony Kanaan will roll off from the third row.

E.J. Viso from KV and Graham Rahal from Ganassi will share row four.

Rookie Simon Pagenaud from Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports will start 10th.

Dario Franchitti, the four-time series champion, struggled in qualifying for the second week in a row. Franchitti surprisingly failed to make it out of Q1. The Ganassi driver will start 18th in the 26-car field.

The 90-lap race at Barber is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. (ET).

03/31 14:45:23 ET


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