Will Power has claimed an important pole position for this weekend's Kentucky Indy 300

IndyCar championship points leader Will Power has claimed an all-important advantage at the penultimate round of the season by claiming pole position for this weekend’s Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Not only does Power (who led the points race by just 9 points coming into this round) claim another championship point as a result of claiming pole, his main title rival Dario Franchitti could only muster the 11th-fastest time.

Power hustled his Penske around Kentucky’s 1.5-mile oval with a two-lap average speed of 219.283mph, almost a full mile per hour faster than second-quickest man, Chip Gannasi driver Graham Rahal.

It was a solid session for a few of the series’ rookie and part-time drivers as well. Rookies James Hinchcliffe (Newman/Haas) and JR Hildebrand (in a lurid-pink Panther) claimed third and fifth on the grid, split by Sarah Fisher Racing’s oval expert Ed Carpenter, who claimed pole position here last year.

Marco Andretti staged a dramatic turnaround in his usual qualifying form by clocking the sixth-fastest time, and he is closely followed by Scott Dixon, winner of the last round at Motegi Twin Ring.

The top ten is completed by Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti), Oriol Servià (Newman/Haas) and Charlie Kimball (Ganassi), while Franchitti was some half-a-second slower than Power’s pole effort.

In an unusual result for the usually rock solid Team Penske, neither of Power’s team-mates could get it together in qualifying: Hélio Castroneves is a poor 16th, while Ryan Briscoe is two spots further back.

Another team to struggle was KV Racing – usually a dependable outfit on oval circuits – with Tony Kanaan being the three-car squad’s best qualifier with just the 19th-fastest time.

Series returnee Dan Wheldon will start from the back of the field after his Sam Schmidt entry failed scrutineering, while RLL driver Pippa Mann suffered another qualifying smash – although thankfully not with the same injury-inducing result that sidelined her from her last outing at New Hampshire – and she will start from last place.



2011 Kentucky Indy 300 Final Qualifying Results:

Driver Team Time Speed
1. Will Power AUS Team Penske 1:38.4194 219.283mph
2. Graham Rahal USA Service Central Chip Ganassi 1:38.5946 218.348mph
3. James Hinchcliffe CDN Newman/Haas Racing 1:38.9226 218.186mph
4. Ed Carpenter USA Sarah Fisher Racing 1:38.9226 218.004mph
5. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 1:39.2650 217.872mph
6. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 1:38.9058 217.807mph
7. Scott Dixon NZL Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:38.3918 217.692mph
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 1:39.0750 217.632mph
9. Oriol Servià ESP Newman/Haas Racing 1:38.7719 217.520mph
10. Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 1:38.7911 217.357mph
11. Dario Franchitti GBR Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:38.8738 217.213mph
12. Mike Conway GBR Andretti Autosport 1:38.9371 217.110mph
13. Simona de Silvestro SUI HVM Racing 1:39.3440 216.924mph
14. Danica Patrick USA Andretti Autosport 1:39.4789 216.768mph
15. Wade Cunningham NZL Sam Schmidt Motorsports 1:39.4789 216.763mph
16. Hélio Castroneves BRZ Team Penske 1:38.9743 216.732mph
17. Buddy Rice USA Panther Racing 1:39.4789 216.685mph
18. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske 1:38.7082 216.669mph
19. Tony Kanaan BRZ KV Racing Technology Lotus 1:39.5004 216.484mph
20. Ana Beatriz BRZ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:39.4724 216.424mph
21. Vitor Meira BRZ AJ Foyt Enterprises 1:39.3269 216.300mph
22. Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology Lotus 1:38.9194 215.856mph
23. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Lotus 1:38.9562 215.789mph
24. Alex Lloyd GBR Dale Coyne Racing 1:38.7495 215.607mph
25. Dillon Battistini GBR Conquest Racing 1:38.8198 215.587mph
26. Townsend Bell USA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:38.8588 215.404mph
27. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing 1:38.8198 214.297mph
28. Dan Wheldon GBR Sam Schmidt Motorsports no time  
29. Pippa Mann GBR Rahal Letterman Lanigan no time  

[Images via IZOD IndyCar Series]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.