Team Penske’s Hélio Castroneves will start on pole for Sunday’s 80-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Castroneves, who also won the 2001 event from pole, set a time of 1:06.629 seconds around the 11-corner 3.157-kilometre historic street circuit, with his lap in the Firestone Fast 6 session eclipsing the previous lap record of 1:06.886 held since 2006 by Sébastien Bourdais.

“I tell you what, the AAA machine was on rails,” Castroneves told NBCSN’s Marty Snider after claiming pole position. “Being on pole position with the teammates I have, it’s like a victory. [It’s] fantastic guys. It’s paying off. One day it’ll be my day, one day another [driver]. From the beginning of the weekend until now, we’re chipping away.”

This is the 42nd career pole position of Castroneves’ career, the fourth most in IndyCar history.

His Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya qualified second-fastest, giving Penske a front row lockout, while Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon qualified third with Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay in fourth – Hunter-Reay was the sole Honda-powered runner in the top-six.

Simon Pagenaud put his Chevy powered Penske in fifth alongside CFH Racing’s Josef Newgarden.

Reigning series champion Will Power will start in 18th place after being caught out by a red flag after Stefano Coletti tagged the wall at Turn 4.

Tony Kanaan rolls off seventh, ahead of Graham Rahal with his best start of the year in eighth. Sébastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti completed the top ten.

Sebastián Saavedra impressed in his opening qualifying appearance with Chip Ganassi Racing by qualifying eleventh-fastest, just ahead of the third Andretti Autosport entry of Carlos Muñoz.

James Hinchliffe, winner of the previous Grand Prix of Louisiana, will start thirteenth alongside CFH Racing’s Luca Filippi.

Conor Daly starts in 21st place in his first Verizon IndyCar Series race in two years as a last-minute replacement for Rocky Moran Jr., who suffered a broken thumb after he had replaced Carlos Huertas in the Dayle Coyne Racing #18 entry.

2015 IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Qualifying Results
Grid ‘Fast Six’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Hélio Castroneves br Team Penske 1:06.629
2. Juan Pablo Montoya co Team Penske 1:06.659 + 0.029
3. Scott Dixon nz Chip Ganassi Racing 1:06.787 + 0.158
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay us Andretti Autosport 1:07.047 + 0.418
5. Simon Pagenaud fr Team Penske 1:07.143 + 0.514
6. Josef Newgarden us CFH Racing 1:07.172 + 0.542
Grid ‘Top 12’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap*
7. Tony Kanaan br Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.109 + 0.320
8. Graham Rahal us Rahal Letterman Lanigan 1:07.129 + 0.340
9. Sébastien Bourdais fr KVSH Racing 1:07.241 + 0.452
10. Marco Andretti us Andretti Autosport 1:07.316 + 0.527
11. Sebastián Saavedra co Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.392 + 0.603
12. Carlos Muñoz co Andretti Autosport 1:07.405 + 0.616
Grid ‘Group 1’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
13. James Hinchcliffe ca Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:07.398 + 0.653
15. Charlie Kimball us Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.422 + 0.678
17. Gabby Chaves co Bryan Herta Autosport 1:07.465 + 0.721
19. James Jakes uk Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:07.770 + 1.026
21. Conor Daly us Dale Coyne Racing 1:08.783 + 2.038
Grid ‘Group 2’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
14. Luca Filippi it CFH Racing 1:08.610 + 1.780
16. Jack Hawksworth uk A.J. Foyt Racong 1:08.628 + 1.797
18. Will Power au Team Penske 1:08.835 + 2.004
20. Takuma Sato jp A.J. Foyt Racing 1:08.873 + 2.043
22. Franceso Dracone it Dale Coyne Racing 1:09.882 + 3.051
23. Stefano Coletti mc KV Racing Technology 1:10.464 + 3.634


  • * Denotes gap to fastest ‘Top 12’ qualifying session time of 1:06.789 posted by Simon Pagenaud. Fastest six qualifiers progress to the ‘Fast Six’ shootout for pole position.
  • ** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 2’ qualifying session time of 1:06.744 posted by Tony Kanaan. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the odd-numbered grid positions 13, 15, 17, etc.
  • *** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 2’ qualifying session time of 1:06.830 posted by Juan Pablo Montoya. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the even-numbered grid positions 14, 16, 18, etc.

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8