Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet, scored the pole for the ABC Supply 500, with his two Penske teammates nipping at his heels.
“I didn’t lift,” Castroneves said. “It was a good day and a solid run. I could not believe it. The car was just unbelievable. It was flawless. I didn’t lift and just kept going.”
This was Castroneves’ fourth Verizon P1 Award of the season and his 45th career pole. His pole-winning two-lap average speed was 220.530 mph.
“Wow, that’s great,” Castroneves said of his pole honors. “I’m not done yet. I want to keep going and I’m full of energy.
“These records come natural when you do your homework and right now it’s paying off.”
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, brought home the second qualifying spot for Team Penske.
“It was a good run,” Pagenaud said. “We did a good job understanding how the car was going to run during the race. The car was great. We had a bit of a scrub in Turn One and missed the balance there.”
“But the car was good overall,” Pagenaud continued. “I’m super proud of the team with Penske one, two and three.”
And yes, there was one more Team Penske member who brought home the third qualifying position, with a speed of 220.398 in spite of going out early to qualify.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when I drew second again,” Will Power, driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, said. “It was a really good run.
“I felt really good about it and was really happy to end up third. I don’t think I could have done any better.”
Unfortunately, there was one member of Team Penske who did not qualify well. In fact, championship point’s leader Juan Pablo Montoya qualified in the 19th position after a disappointing run.
“It just never turned,” Montoya said after his qualifying lap. “It’s what it is. You can’t change it.”
Even though Montoya may be starting further back, each and every one of his Team Penske teammates seemed willing to do whatever they could to help.
“Usually there are no team orders at Team Penske,” Pagenaud said. “At this point, I’ve got nothing to gain or lose. If Montoya’s not winning the race, it’s better that we go ahead and try to take points away from Rahal and Dixon for example.
“If I can do anything to help Montoya I will. That’s from my own heart.”
Josef Newgarden time trialed fourth and Graham Rahal, who is also in the championship hunt, qualified fifth.
“To be in the top five and the top Honda is good,” Rahal said. “We’ll try to chase down Juan. He’s one heck of a competitor and I know he will be right on our heels.”
The other major story of qualifying for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway was the scary crash of Charlie Kimball. The rear end of his No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet kicked out, slamming into the SAFER barrier and then riding that into the catch fence.
“We had a pretty good warm-up lap and the car was giving me a lot of confidence and I went into Turn 1 and I didn’t like the balance so I made some adjustments,” Kimball said. “I went into Turn 3 and got caught out by the wind and the 83 car rotated. Unfortunately, the car had been quick all morning and we were pretty close to the pole in qualifying.
“I hit sideways and I don’t know what rolled under. I was looking down riding along the top of the wall for a while. Overall, I’m happy to get away with just a couple bumps and bruises.”
Kimball was cleared from the infield care center, after getting two stitches in his chin. He also had a bruise on his and finger. But in typical Kimball style, the driver brushed it off with humor.
“When you are this ugly to begin with it is hard to do much damage.”
Kimball will have to start from the rear and also utilize a backup car.
“Seeing us roll off the grid last isn’t going to be great but hopefully I’ll make it more exciting fighting my way through the field,” Kimball said. “The SAFER Barrier did its job. It’s not something you can test because you never want to crash but when it happens I’m pleased it was not worse.”
There was one other incident in the qualifying session. Rookie Stefano Coletti kissed the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3 in the morning practice so did not attempt to qualify and will be starting dead last in his No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.
The following is the full qualifying order for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway:
Rank Car Driver Name C/A/E/T Lap 1 Lap 2 Total Time Avg Speed
1 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/C/F 40.8301 40.7916 01:21.6217 220.530
2 22 Pagenaud, Simon D/C/C/F 40.7722 40.8660 01:21.6382 220.485
3 1 Power, Will D/C/C/F 40.8435 40.8269 01:21.6704 220.398
4 67 Newgarden, Josef D/C/C/F 40.9783 40.7876 01:21.7659 220.141
5 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/H/F 40.8899 40.8844 01:21.7743 220.118
6 26 Munoz, Carlos D/H/H/F 40.9475 40.9334 01:21.8809 219.831
7 25 Wilson, Justin D/H/H/F 40.9580 40.9776 01:21.9356 219.685
8 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/H/F 40.9596 40.9806 01:21.9402 219.672
9 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/H/F 40.9649 41.0106 01:21.9755 219.578
10 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/C/F 40.9918 41.0050 01:21.9968 219.521
11 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/C/F 41.1625 41.0410 01:22.2035 218.969
12 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/C/F 41.1741 41.0869 01:22.2610 218.816
13 19 Vautier, Tristan D/H/H/F 41.1453 41.1982 01:22.3435 218.596
14 41 Hawksworth, Jack D/H/H/F 41.2550 41.1887 01:22.4437 218.331
15 7 Jakes, James D/H/H/F 41.2344 41.2413 01:22.4757 218.246
16 98 Chaves, Gabby (R) D/H/H/F 41.3380 41.1731 01:22.5111 218.152
17 18 Mann, Pippa D/H/H/F 41.3883 41.4192 01:22.8075 217.372
18 5 Briscoe, Ryan D/H/H/F 41.5591 41.2980 01:22.8571 217.241
19 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/C/F 41.8365 41.0386 01:22.8751 217.194
20 8 Karam, Sage (R) D/C/C/F 41.6624 41.5167 01:23.1791 216.401
21 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/C/F 41.5783 41.6337 01:23.2120 216.315
22 27 Andretti, Marco D/H/H/F 42.3788 41.3028 01:23.6816 215.101
23 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/C/F No Time DNQ
24 4 Coletti, Stefano (R) D/C/C/F No Time DNQ