Will Power earned the pole for today’s Honda 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Power turned in a lap of 1:06.3343-seconds in his No. 12 Chevrolet en route to his 60th career NTT INDYCAR Series pole. Only Mario Andretti (67) has more. The Team Penske driver won the pole for Race 1 in St. Louis last time out too. It’s also his third pole in the last four races at Mid-Ohio including eight front row starting spots in his last nine starts there overall.
Despite this success, Power has never won at Mid-Ohio before. He’s 0-for-11. He’s also not won this year either. He’s won at least one race for 13 straight years too. Do these streaks come into play later?
The big story though is how much of a big points day this could be for Josef Newgarden. The defending series champion enters this weekend 96 points behind Scott Dixon for the lead. Dixon and Newgarden split wins in the last race weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway but in the second race Newgarden cut 29 points off Dixon’s advantage. For today’s race, he has potential to cut even more off.
Newgarden won this race in 2017 and will roll off in Row 2. He qualified third.
Dixon was only ninth in the first group and starts 17th. That’s shocking in that Dixon has six top two finishes in 2020 and won this race last year. In fact, he has a record six wins overall on this track. He said that they didn’t change his car from practice to qualifying and the grip went away. He questioned if it was just a bad batch of tires.
Third in points Pato O’Ward also will start towards in the back in Row 8 (15th) too. Fourth and fifth in points are Takuma Sato and Colton Herta and they’ll start 18th and 13th respectively themselves.
This is going to be an important race for Newgarden now. Track position is key at Mid-Ohio with 11 of the last 13 being won from a top eight starting spot. But, Dixon did win this race from 22nd in 2014 though too. Three of the last four Mid-Ohio races have been won from a top row starter as well.
Conor Daly (4th) and Jack Harvey (5th) rounds out the top five. Harvey now has eight top 10 starting spots in the last nine races including five of which in the Fast Six. Rinus VeeKay starts ninth to give ECR two cars in the top 10 too.
Andretti Autosport also had a good day. After putting four cars in the top 10 of practice earlier, Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified his No. 28 Honda on the front row in second. That’s his third top five starting spot over the last five races this season and sixth overall. His teammate Alexander Rossi rolls off sixth with Marco Andretti in 11th.
Odd but true stat Penske has now won 6 poles in 2020, but Dixon has won 4 of his 5 races this year when a Penske driver wins the pole
Texas – Newgarden pole (Dixon win)
Indy – Power pole (Dixon win)
Road America – Newgarden pole (Dixon win)
St Louis – Power pole (Dixon win)
Today – Power pole (Dixon win?)