Power opens IndyCar season with pole at St. Pete



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Will Power led a strong Penske Racing effort in qualifying for the IndyCar season opener by winning the pole for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Power set an IndyCar track record of 1:01.3721 over the winding 1.8-mile course through the streets of St. Petersburg. His Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe qualified second at 1:01.5357.

Andretti Autosport qualified third and fourth behind Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe, while Penske’s Helio Castroneves was fifth as Chevrolet’s took the top five spots.

Simon Pagenaud was the highest qualifying Honda driver at sixth. But he loses 10 spots on the starting grid for an unapproved engine change on Friday.

The powerhouse Target Chip Ganassi Racing missed the final round of qualifying when Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon failed to advance into the final round.