SPEEDWAY, Ind. — On the final lap of the final round of qualifying Friday afternoon, Will Power outpaced Alex Palou as time expired to claim pole position for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix.
This will be the 64th time Power has started on pole in an IndyCar race, putting him just three shy of the all-time record set by Mario Andretti (67).
“It’s been a while since I’ve been on the pole at a road course,” Power said. “As usual it was crazy close with everyone. You couldn’t leave anything on the table.”
“It has become incredibly hard to get poles,” he added. “It’s a different guy each week. We’ll keep chipping away (at Andretti’s record). I honestly feel pretty blessed to get so close (to it).”
Power topped the drivers in Group 1 during the opening round of qualifying. Power was fourth among the Fast 12 in round two, before stealing the pole away from Palou to end the final round.
Palou will roll off second. Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden took just one run in the final round in order to save tires. He will start third immediately behind Power on Saturday.
“I wanted to get pole, but we always lack a little bit on used reds,” Palou said. “I was not super shocked that Will got me in the end. But, I’m happy to be up there in the fight.”
The surprise of qualifying was Conor Daly, who will have his best start on a road course in his career at fourth.
“It much nicer fighting with these guys than not,” Daly said. “It’s insane how small the gaps are. It was so close, just one moment on the lap. Everyone is so close here. It’s so competitive.”
The drivers prepared in qualifying today with strategies on how to run Saturday’s race when it comes to using the slower and stronger black tires, or the quicker and less durable red tires.
However, that strategy may not matter as rain and even the possibility of thunderstorms are in the forecast, which could make the race a wet race calling for wet weather tires.
The last time the GMR Grand Prix was run in the wet was in 2019 when Simon Pagenaud won.
“I hope it stays dry, but since we’re starting up front if it’s wet we’ll certainly have less spray,” Daly said with his signature wit.
The green flag is slated to drop at 3:45 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Pre-race coverage will start at 2:00 p.m. on 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan. You can also listen to the simulcast of the race on 93 WIBC including “Heroes of the 500.”