INDYCAR: Simon Pagenaud on pole at Sonoma
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after capturing the pole position Saturday, September 17, 2016 for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series final race of the season at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Pagenaud is the points leader heading into the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
SONOMA, Calif. – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud has led the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings since early April. On the cusp of his first series title, the Frenchman delivered a championship performance in Saturday’s Verizon P1 Award qualifying, earning the top spot in knockout qualifying for Sunday’s season-ending GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway.
Pagenaud (No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet) won the pole position and important championship point with a lap of 1 minute, 16.2565 seconds (112.594 mph), leading a Team Penske sweep of the top four spots. Pagenaud was followed by Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet, 1:16.4134), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:16.5400) and championship contender Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:16.5400). The last time the Penske quartet swept the first four spots in qualifying was in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., in March.
“The biggest thing is how good the car has been, through the whole qualifying session,” said an exuberant Pagenaud after winning the pole at Sonoma for the first time. “So proud of the HP Chevrolet team. What a dream season, seven poles! It’s unbelievable … I knew we could do it. This has not been my favorite type of track in the past, but it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.”