Castroneves wins Iowa pole but starts 11th due to penalty
Newton, IA (Sports Network) - Helio Castroneves won Saturday's third and final qualifying heat race to claim the pole position for the IndyCar Series event on Sunday at Iowa Speedway.
However, Castroneves received a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change. The Brazilian will start 11th in the 250-lap race at Iowa.
Castroneves, the current points leader, led all 50 laps and beat his Team Penske teammate, Will Power, to the finish line by 3.15 seconds for his 38th career IndyCar pole but his first since April 2012 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. He also added to his lead in the championship standings with nine bonus points.
Prior to the heat races, Castroneves held a 16-point advantage over defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won last weekend at The Milwaukee Mile. His lead is now 25 points.
"It's always crucial when you are fighting for the championship, and every point counts," Castroneves said. "We learned a lot today. Tomorrow is obviously a different ballgame. We have more traffic, and it's going to be a little bit hotter. There's a lot of things going on."
The third heat race included the top-six finishers in single-car qualifying, held earlier in the day, as well as the first-and-second-place finishers in heat races 1 (Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato) and 2 (Graham Rahal and Ed Carpenter). Castroneves finished first in qualifying after setting a new track record at 185.687 mph. Dixon held the previous record at 182.360 mph, set in 2007.
Due to Castroneves' penalty, Power will start on the pole. Power finished a season-best third at Milwaukee.
"I have to make up points on the others, so this is a good start," Power said." We had a good car. This track is mentally and physically exhausting. It should be a fun race."
Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti will start second and third, respectively, while Dixon will roll off from the fourth position. Dixon led every lap in race 1.
Hunter-Reay qualified 14th after finishing fourth in race 1. He won at Iowa one year ago.
"The team will have to regroup, because we're starting buried in the pack," Hunter-Reay said. "We gave up points today."
James Jakes spun around and backed it hard into the turn 2 wall on the second- to-last lap in race 2. Jakes, who finished eighth, was checked at the infield medical care center and cleared to drive.
Sato and Ana Beatriz also were penalized for unapproved engine changes. Sato qualified seventh and Beatriz 18th.
06/22 22:39:06 ET