Power Breaks Fourth Track Record of 2015, Wins Verizon P1 Award at Sonoma Raceway

Posted: August 29, 2015 in Uncategorized
Will Power exits the Turn 9A chicane complex during qualifications for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway - Image by Shawn Gritzmacher

Will Power exits the Turn 9A chicane complex during qualifications for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway – Image by Shawn Gritzmacher

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Sonoma, California (Aug. 29, 2015) – Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power reset his year-old track record in the Firestone Fast Six to earn the Verizon P1 Award and pace 4 of 6 championship contenders who will start on the first three rows for the title-deciding GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevy, this is the 4th track record broken by Power this season and the 6th track record broken in 2015 following the introduction of aerokits by Chevrolet and Honda.

Three rounds of qualifications set the 25-car grid for the 85-lap race August 30th (1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on NBCSN) that carries double base points along with bonus points for the pole (one point), leading a lap (one) and leading the most laps (two).

Sonoma Qual Results

Power claimed his 6th pole start of the season and 42nd of his career, 5th on the all-time Indy car list.

“I’m really stoked. I love qualifying and (am) very happy to end the year with a pole position,” said Power, a three-time winner at Sonoma Raceway who has started from the pole five times in the past six years for this race. “Lots of points on the table; we’ll go for that win. Basically, we were just going to do two one-lap runs on the used reds, but Newgarden went out and put a pretty good time up, so we had no choice but to use the new blacks at the end there. It was the obvious choice at the end but I had to work for it.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, has stood atop the standings since winning the season opener March 29 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and holds a 34-point lead over Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Montoya’s most direct path to his second Indy car title – separated by 16 years – is to finish first or second. The other contenders’ script also is clear.

Juan Pablo Montoya crests the Turn 2 hill during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway - Image by Chris Jones

Juan Pablo Montoya crests the Turn 2 hill during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway – Image by Chris Jones

“Win. That’s the best-case scenario,” said Rahal, who advanced to the Firestone Fast Six qualifying format used on all Verizon IndyCar Series road and street courses for the first time since Twin Ring Motegi in 2011. “We finish third, fourth, fifth (in the race), it becomes obviously a bit more difficult because you’re banking on Juan finishing 12th or worse. I don’t think that’s likely.”

Josef Newgarden, a two-time race winner this season, earned his 2nd front-row start in the 16 races this season. “Getting pole would’ve helped a lot more. It is worth points and it’s double points this weekend,” said Newgarden, driving the No. 67 GoPro CFH Racing Chevrolet. “We’ve got a really good car. We’re hoping to have a good race. It starts with qualifying and we did a pretty decent job there. If we keep clean, we have a shot at winning that thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has won two of the past three races in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, qualified a season-high third. He’ll share Row 2 with Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet.

Here is where the remaining title contenders qualified (with championship standings position and points behind leader in parentheses):

  • First — Will Power (fourth, -61 points), 1:16.2597 best lap, Firestone Fast Six (track record);
  • Second — Josef Newgarden (sixth, -87 points), 1:16.3964 best lap, Firestone Fast Six;
  • Fifth — Juan Pablo Montoya (first), 1:16.6631 best lap, Round 2; 1:16.8437 Firestone Fast Six;
  • Sixth — Graham Rahal (second, -34 points), 1:16.6435 best lap, Round 2; 1:17.1769 Firestone Fast Six;
  • Ninth — Scott Dixon (third, -47 points), 1:16.7365 best lap, Round 1;
  • 15th — Helio Castroneves (fifth, -77 points), 1:17.2550 best lap, Round 1.

This marks the 10th consecutive season that the Verizon IndyCar Series champion will be decided in the final race.

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