Marco Andretti leads Andretti Autosport romp in Pocono qualifying
Long Pond, PA (Sports Network) - Andretti Autosport dominated Saturday's qualifying for the 400-mile IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway with three of its drivers securing all the positions on the front starting row.
Marco Andretti, who hails from nearby Nazareth, Pa., won the pole for Sunday's race at Pocono with a two-lap average of 221.273 mph in qualifying. Andretti will share the front row with his teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, who qualified in the middle of the row, and James Hinchcliffe, who grabbed the outside spot.
"It's just an unbelievable team performance across the board," Andretti said. "Happy for the (No. 25 team) and Andretti Autosport as a whole. We've been making statement after statement, so it's a good feeling."
It's the second pole in the last three races for Andretti. Last month, he grabbed the top starting position for the 250-mile race at The Milwaukee Mile. Andretti led the first 61 laps but later suffered a mechanical issue that led to his 20th-place finish.
This will be the first time an Indy car race has been held at Pocono since 1989. Twenty four teams tested at this unique 2.5-mile triangular racetrack earlier this week. Andretti has been quickest in both testing and practice here. Pocono hosted CART and USAC events during the 1970s and '80s.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the defending IndyCar champion, posted a two-lap average of 220.892 mph.
Hinchcliffe, who won his series-leading third race of the season with a dominating performance two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway, qualified at 220.431 mph.
Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, the current points leader, will share row 2. Castroneves holds just a nine-point advantage over Hunter-Reay. Andretti is 55 markers out of the lead, while Hinchcliffe trails by 66.
Pocono is the second of three races in this year's "Triple Crown" bonus program for IndyCar. Kanaan won the first bonus event, the May 26 Indianapolis 500. He will collect a $250,000 award if he wins at Pocono.
Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Simon Pagenaud will roll off from the third row. Dixon, though, has incurred a 10-grid spot penalty due to an unapproved engine change. His Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dario Franchitti, also received the same penalty. Franchitti qualified 18th.
E.J. Viso, who drives for Andretti Autosport, made contact with the wall in turn 1 during his second qualifying lap. Viso was examined at the track's infield medical care center and cleared to drive. Alex Tagliani also crashed his car in the turn 1 wall during his first lap. He was checked and cleared to drive as well.
Ryan Briscoe, who is driving the No. 4 car for Panther Racing at Pocono, did not participate in qualifying since he is competing in an American Le Mans Series event Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. on Saturday.
07/06 16:04:31 ET