Defending IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon has finally had some luck fall his way after claiming pole position for Saturday’s championship round at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway.

With just a single podium finish to-date, the New Zealander has had a rather torrid title defence and will be hoping that he can reinvigorate his championship campaign with a solid race result around the short oval circuit.

After the Penske entries of Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya had locked out top spots in preceding practice sessions, Dixon unearthed a two-lap qualifying average speed of 186.256mph (299.75km/h) to break the circuit’s qualifying record. Chip Ganassi teammate Tony Kanaan will start alongside him on the front row.

Former champion Hélio Castroneves starts on the second row of the grid. The improving Ryan Briscoe qualified fourth, and with Charlie Kimball seventh-fastest, all four Chip Ganassi entries qualified on the first four rows of the grid. The Andretti entries of Carlos Muñoz and Marco Andretti qualified inside the top-eight, with Sébastien Bourdais an impressive sixth-fastest.

Series leader Will Power was the first runner on track and clocked a two-lap average of 184.683mph (297.22km/h), but he ultimately slide down the timesheets to ninth. Montoya, a winner last weekend at Pocono Raceway, was a lowly nineteenth and will have plenty of work to do to get himself towards the sharp end of the field in the 300-lap race.

Saturday’s race gets underway at 7:50pm local time (UTC -5:00).

2014 IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 – Final Qualifying:

Driver Team / Entry Avg. Speed
1. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 186.256mph
2. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 185.891mph
3. Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet 185.685mph
4. Ryan Briscoe Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 185.339mph
5. Carlos Muñoz Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 185.027mph
6. Sébastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Honda Honda 184.968mph
7. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 184.743mph
8. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 184.726mph
9. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet 184.683mph
10. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 184.589mph
11. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda Honda 184.380mph
12. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda Honda 184.316mph
13. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 183.747mph
14. James Hinchcliffe ca Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 183.348mph
15. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Honda 183.201mph
16. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda Honda 183.089mph
17. Sebastián Saavedra KV Racing Technology / AFS Racing Honda Honda 183.083mph
18. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Honda 182.455mph
19. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet 182.317mph
20. Jack Hawksworth Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Honda 181.243mph
21. Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Honda 180.987mph
22. Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing Honda Honda 177.849mph

Image via USA Today

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Matt Lennon