Pagenaud Leads Team Penske 1-2-3 in Race 1 Qualifying

Simon Pagenaud during practice on Belle Isle
Photo: Zach Wenzel

The Verizon IndyCar Series took to the bumpy Raceway at Belle Isle Park on Friday afternoon to set the grid for Saturday’s Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit weekend with Simon Pagenaud earning the pole.

Group 1 in Round 1 of qualifying was led by Scott Dixon who shattered the year-old Raceway at Belle Isle Park track record with a 1:15.3822.

The top six advancing out of Group 1 into Round 2 were the only six cars to reach the 1:15 lap time bracket, with Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan leading Juan Pablo Montoya, Takuma Sato, Will Power and James Hinchcliffe in earning a spot in Group 2.

Helio Castroneves was fastest in the second group of Round 1 qualifying with a best lap of 1:15.6004, just shy of Dixon’s record pace in Group 1.

Castroneves advanced out of Group 2 into Round 2 along with Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz, Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Mikhail Aleshin. Jack Hawksworth was assessed a assessed a penalty for bringing out a yellow flag at the end of Group 2 and lost his fastest lap.

At the beginning of Round 2, the No. 12 Team Penske-fielded Chevrolet of Power was issued drive-through penalty for improper pit exit, granting the Australian driver a heightened challenge to reach the Firestone Fast 6.

At the halfway mark of Round 2, points leader Simon Pagenaud turned the first ever lap within the 1:14 bracket on Belle Isle, but his Team Penske stablemate Helio Castroneves followed suit with a quicker lap, taking the track record for himself with a 1:14.6899.

The six drivers earning their spot in the final round of qualifying to decide the front six spots on the Dual 1 grid were Castroneves, Dixon, Pagenaud, Montoya, Hinchcliffe, and Carlos Munoz, while Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Power, Graham Rahal, Sato and Mikhail Aleshin missed out on the Firestone Fast 6 and will fill positions seven through 12 on the Race 1 grid.

At the close of the final round, Pagenaud held the top spot with a best lap of 1:14.9166 to grant him the pole position for Saturday’s first of two full-length Verizon IndyCar Series races on the weekend.

Castroneves, narrowly missing out on taking the pole for himself, will share the front row with Pagenaud after qualifying second ahead of Colombian driver Montoya, marking a Team Penske 1-2-3 for Race 1.

Ending the Firestone Fast 6 in fifth and sixth were Munoz and Dixon, making it two Hondas to four Chevrolets in the front six positions on the grid for Saturday’s 70-lap race.

The series will be on track next for a brief 30-minute practice session on Saturday at 10:05 a.m. EDT before the green flag for Race 1 at 3:50 p.m.

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