Marco Andretti underlined his pace during practice by claiming pole for Saturday's Milwaukee IndyFest IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Milwaukee Mile.
Andretti, who topped both the Friday practice sessions, eclipsed the track's previous IndyCar Series qualifying speed record with his two-lap average of 170.515mph. Teammate James Hinchcliffe, who Andretti bumped from the top spot, also beat the old record with his 170.418mph effort.
"We rolled off pretty good," Andretti said. "I knew I was going to have to go flat in Turns 1 and 2 in both laps, and I was able to pull it off."
Hinchcliffe's time had been the benchmark for most of the session. The Canadian was the fifth driver to set a time, and it proved good enough to see off most of the field before Andretti came out. For team owner Michael Andretti, it was an especially gratifying session ahead of Father's Day weekend.
“So many special things have happened (at the Milwaukee Mile) with me,” Micjael said. “It's the only all-family podium that we had back in 1991 where myself, my dad (Mario) and my cousin (John) on there.”
Aside from Helio Castroneves, who was the first car to run in the session, the only other driver to briefly occupy provisional pole was Takuma Sato, who made his run immediately before Hinchcliffe.
"Don't' tell Marco, but the outside is way better on the start," Hinchcliffe said. "That is what I was going for. Man, the third time starting second; it's always the bridesmaid, never the bride. For where we were, especially at practice, the front row, I will take it."
For a while, it looked like Andretti Autosport might secure the entire two front rows before Penske's Will Power intervened to go third fastest, putting himself ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso.
"I thought we might have enough for pole today but I made a little mistake on the last lap and we just missed it," said Power.
At least he was better off than teammate Castroneves, as the Texas winner was pushed all the way back to 18th by the end.
“Wow, that was a tough qualifying – one of the toughest of my career," he said. "The PPG Team Penske Chevrolet has been good all day but I think we got a little greedy there. We took a gamble on the downforce, going really low thinking that that the track would be better, and it just wasn't. The car got sideways a couple of times and I'm just glad the car came in on all four wheels! We have a little of work to do in the race but we'll be ready and hopefully fight for our first win in Milwaukee.”
Sebastian Saavedra did a great job to finish up sixth fastest ahead of Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, while Josef Newgarden took the honors for quickest Honda-powered driver and will start from eighth.
1. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 170.51mph
2. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 170.418
3. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 170.212
4. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 170.100
5. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 169.828
6. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 169.732
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 169.482
8. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 169.462
9. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 169.311
10. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 169.215
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 168.820
12. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 168.470
13. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 168.412
14. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 168.141
15. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 168.023
16. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 167.512
17. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 167.263
18. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 167.169
19. (4) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 165.765
20. (18) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 165.364
21. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 164.797
22. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 164.124
23. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 163.230
24. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 162.886