NEWTON, IA — Will Power is now 1 pole shy of tying Mario Andretti for most all-time. He knew that the Iowa Speedway would be a good place for him to make up some ground on Andretti with 2 laps setting the field for 2 different races. Power is a qualifying master here and it showed.
By eclipsing 178 mph on both laps, he not only scored the pole for Saturday’s NTT INDYCAR Series race on the .894-mile short track, but for Sunday’s as well. It was his 6th front row starting spot in his last 7 Iowa races to go along with 5 of his 66 career poles coming here.
Power says while you can pass here, you’ll need to start in the top 10 both days. That’s something points leader Marcus Ericsson isn’t doing. Ericsson qualified his No. 8 Dallara-Honda 12th for Race 1 and 15th for Race 2.
With Power being on the pole in the same two races and being 35 points behind Ericsson for the top spot in the standings, does he points race now this weekend?
“You can’t think of that,” Power said of points racing now. “You just have to put your mind on the exact time you’re in. You just got to go and do what’s best at the time.”
Power also gave Ericsson some high praise in the process too.
“Yeah, I’m hoping that this is a good weekend for us to catch Marcus because he’s very tough,” he continued. “He’s not the best qualifier, but he’s probably the best racer in the series, in my opinion. Just over the years watching him race, he’s one of the toughest guys. Like he’s very, very good at starting back there and making his way all the way to the front.
“Yeah, try to get some points on him. He’s no joke. He’s tough to beat.”
Ericsson has just 2 top 5 starting spots in 12 tries this season including 6 of the 12 being outside the top 10. However, he always charges. Ericsson has 8 top 10’s, 5 of which being in the top 5, in 10 races run and has 2 more opportunities in as many days at Iowa this weekend.
He went from 14th to 3rd earlier this year in Texas. He went from 18th to 4th in May’s GMR Grand Prix. He went from 13th to 6th earlier this month at Mid-Ohio.
With 3 straight top 11 finishes in as many tries at Iowa for Ericsson, that’s why Power knows he has to capitalize and not worry about Ericsson because the red and white Chip Ganassi Racing Honda will be coming.