IndyCar Series: Pole for Pagenaud at MAVTV 500 in Fontana
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) earned his career’s second Indy car pole and his personal first on an oval at 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
At the start of MAVTV 500, in the front row there will also be one more Penske driver— Helio Castroneves, who qualified second with a two-lap average of 218.734 mph. Pagenaud’s average was 218.952 mph. For Castroneves, it will be the third consecutive start on the front row. This is also the fifth consecutive race in which Team Penske’s drivers have occupied the front row.
“I would like to thank to my crew for helping me prepare; It’s always exciting to get a superspeedway pole. Qualifying is one thing; this is a reward for my performance. We have a 500-mile race and hopefully I can reward the team for its hard work. While the pole is nice, but frankly, you can win from the back in a 500-mile race like Montoya did (in the Indianapolis 500). Being able to run in different lanes and being smart in traffic is going to be the key,” said Pagenaud.
Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), whose two-lap average speed of 217.797 mph was the third best of the 22 qualifiers, achieved his highest qualifying result since securing the pole for the July 2013 race at Pocono Raceway. CFH Racing co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who finished first, second and third in the past three races at Auto Club Speedway, qualified in the fourth position.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya (Team Penske), who is seeking to complete a career Triple Crown of 500-mile race victories at Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway, qualified fifth. He will share Row 3 with 2014 MAVTV 500 race winner Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing). James Jakes (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) did not make a qualifying attempt following an engine issue in the second practice session.