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Simon Pagenaud claims first oval pole, Penske sweeps front row


FONTANA, Calif. — Simon Pagenaud earned his second career Indy car pole and first on an oval in leading a Team Penske sweep of the front row for the MAVTV 500 with a two-lap average speed of 218.952 mph on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.

Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, topped teammate Helio Castroneves’ 2014 pole-winning average speed of 218.540 mph and will start on the front row for the third consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series race. Castroneves qualified second with a two-lap average of 218.734 mph in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet.

It is the fifth consecutive race that Team Penkse entries have occupied the front row.

“Thanks to my crew for the preparations and it’s exciting to get a superspeedway pole,” said Pagenaud, who is in his first season with Team Penske. “Qualifying is one thing. It’s a reward for performance. We have a 500-mile race and hopefully I can reward the team for its hard work. It’s a brand new team that is gelling really well.

“This (pole) is nice, but frankly, you can win from the back in a 500-mile race like (Juan Pablo) Montoya did (in the Indianapolis 500). Being able to run in different lanes and being smart in traffic is going to be key.”

Marco Andretti, whose two-lap average speed of 217.797 mph in the No. 27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda was third best of the 22 qualifiers, posted his highest qualifying result since securing the pole for the July 2013 race at Pocono Raceway.

“We maximized everything in qualifying, and I’m really happy with the race car for the long race. That’s the important thing,” said Andretti, who won the pole for the 2012 race at Auto Club Speedway.

CFH Racing co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who has finished first, second and third in the past three races at Auto Club Speedway, qualified on the outside of Row 2 (217.666 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.

Pagenaud, who will be competing in his 18th oval race, won his first Verizon P1 Award on June 28, 2014, at Houston. He has qualified in the top five in 10 of the 11 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. Pagenaud also qualified on the front row for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, though 10th- and 11th-place results he would characterize as disappointing.

Pagenaud’s Lap 1 speed of 219.112 mph was fastest of all qualifiers. James Jakes did not make a qualifying attempt following an engine issue in the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in the second practice session. Pagenaud is the fifth different pole sitter this season.

Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Montoya, who is seeking to complete a career Triple Crown of 500-mile race victories at Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway, qualified fifth at 217.250 mph in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. He will share Row 3 with 2014 MAVTV 500 race winner Tony Kanaan, who recorded a two-lap average speed of 217.184 mph in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

1 22 Simon Pagenaud Chevrolet


218.952 MPH

2 3 Helio Castroneves Chevrolet


218.734 MPH

3 27 Marco Andretti Honda


217.797 MPH

4 20 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet


217.666 MPH

5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet


217.250 MPH

6 10 Tony Kanaan Chevrolet


217.184 MPH

7 9 Scott Dixon Chevrolet


217.184 MPH

8 1 Will Power Chevrolet


217.176 MPH

9 14 Takuma Sato Honda


217.109 MPH

10 8 Sage Karam (R) Chevrolet


217.060 MPH

11 26 Carlos Munoz Honda


216.878 MPH

12 67 Josef Newgarden Chevrolet


216.490 MPH

13 83 Charlie Kimball Chevrolet


216.242 MPH

14 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Honda


215.983 MPH

15 11 Sebastien Bourdais Chevrolet


215.719 MPH

16 5 Ryan Briscoe Honda


215.526 MPH

17 41 Jack Hawksworth Honda


215.346 MPH

18 98 Gabby Chaves (R) Honda


213.720 MPH

19 15 Graham Rahal Honda


213.639 MPH

20 19 Tristan Vautier Honda


213.317 MPH

21 4 Stefano Coletti (R) Chevrolet


212.644 MPH

22 18 Pippa Mann Honda


210.528 MPH

23 7 James Jakes Honda

No Time

No Speed

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Posted by on June 27, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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