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Alexander Rossi's weekend of great news continued today when he won the qualifying for the IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen.

A day after it was announced he would return to Andretti Autosport next season in a multiyear deal, Rossi clocked a dramatic last lap of 1 minute, 22.4639 seconds (147.119 mph) on Watkins Glen International's high-risk, high-reward permanent road course.

It was the fastest lap in the Firestone Fast Six, the third and final round of knockout qualifying, to earn Rossi the first pole position in his 32-race Verizon IndyCar Series career.

"It was a big lap we needed," said Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner and driver of the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda. "The lap before was pretty good, but they came on the radio and said, 'You need at least a tenth (of a second quicker),' so we went for it.

"It's amazing to finally accomplish this, especially on the back of the announcement on Friday. I think it's been a long time coming, so it's just nice to finally get that. The whole team has been working so hard and they deserve this."

Rossi was the last of the Firestone Fast Six drivers on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn circuit at the session's end, crossing the timing line to win the pole as the others were in pit lane. The 25-year-old Californian's best previous qualifying effort was third on two occasions, both on ovals this season at Indianapolis and Texas.

Rossi will lead the 21-car field to the green flag in Sunday's 60-lap race (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). In winning the pole, he denied Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon the chance to edge closer to championship leader Josef Newgarden in the point standings.

Dixon settled for the second starting spot with a lap of 1:22.5168 (147.025 mph) in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda that nipped Newgarden by one ten-thousandth of a second.

"Front row is definitely decent," said Dixon, the four-time series champion and four-time Watkins Glen race winner. "The frustrating part is that we had plenty in hand.

"We caught Helio (Castroneves on track) so quickly. I don't know what he was doing out there, he was just sort of cruising around. We caught him way too fast with two laps to go.

Maybe we should have backed off on the second-to-last lap (to open a gap). I think we had probably another three or four tenths (of a second) in the car. Definitely frustrating to lose it that way."

Regardless, Dixon is the only driver to reach all eight Firestone Fast Six rounds contested this season and has earned a top-five starting position in each of his eight visits to Watkins Glen. Dixon also broke his year-old track record in the second round of qualifying with a lap of 1:22.4171 (147.202 mph).

Newgarden, holding a 31-point lead over Dixon heading into Sunday's race, will start third in the No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet following a lap of 1:22.5169 (147.024 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six.

"I think I messed up a pole run, to be honest with you," Newgarden said. "I lost two or three tenths (of a second) in the final corner.

"I just deuced it, totally messed it up, lost a couple tenths (in Turn 9). Great lap time, good starting position for us. I feel so silly for messing up what could have been a pole position."

Takuma Sato, Rossi's teammate at Andretti Autosport, qualified fourth in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda (1:22.5660, 146.937 mph). Charlie Kimball was fifth in the No. 83 Tresiba Honda (1:22.8081, 146.507 mph), with Castroneves sixth in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:23.3350, 145.581 mph).

Newgarden, Dixon, Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud (who qualified 12th), Will Power (qualified eighth), Graham Rahal (qualified 10th), Rossi and Sato all remain mathematically alive for the championship.

Drivers must be within 104 points of the leader following the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen - with only the double-points GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 17 remaining on the schedule.

Qualifying relust:

1. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:22.4639 (147.119)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:22.5168 (147.025)
3. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:22.5169 (147.024)
4. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:22.5660 (146.937) 
5. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 01:22.8081 (146.507)
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:23.3350 (145.581)
7. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:22.9854 (146.194)
8. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:23.0987 (145.995)
9. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 01:23.1459 (145.912)
10. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:23.2240 (145.775)
11. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 01:23.2959 (145.649)
12. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:23.2981 (145.646)
13. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:23.4917 (145.308)
14. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:23.5089 (145.278)
15. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:23.9851 (144.454)
16. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:23.6854 (144.972) 
17. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 01:23.9982 (144.432)
18. (7) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:24.1390 (144.190)
19. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 01:24.2012 (144.083)
20. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:24.1779 (144.123)
21. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:24.4543 (143.652)

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Will Power joined the elite club of 50-time pole winners in Indy car history by breaking Gateway track record.

Power’s two-lap average speed of 189.642 mph on the Gateway Motorsports Park oval included a record lap of 189.709 mph (23.7206 seconds), breaking the 20-year-old track record set by Raul Boesel in 1997 (24.324 seconds, 187.963 mph).

Power, who won last week’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, collected his sixth pole position of the season 50th of his 13-year Indy car career.

It tied the 36-year-old Australian with Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves for third place on the all-time list. The teammates trail only Mario Andretti (67) and A.J. Foyt (53).

Power has now win six or more pole positions in four seasons (eight each in 2010 and ’11, six in 2015).

Team Penske locked down the first four spots in qualifying. Following Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet were: points leader Josef Newgarden, who was second the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet (188.316 mph); Helio Castroneves, third in the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevrolet (187.457 mph); and Simon Pagenaud, fourth in the No. 1 Menards Chevrolet (186.747 mph).

Team Penske has won 10 of the 15 poles to date in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series. It is also the 255th Indy car pole in team history.

Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter was the top non-Penske qualifier, ranking fifth in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing (184.528 mph). Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was sixth in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda (184.186 mph).

With three races remaining in the 2017 season, Newgarden holds an 18-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who qualified seventh. Castroneves trails Newgarden by 22 points, Pagenaud is 26 points back and Power, with the point earned for winning the pole, is 41 points behind the leader.


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Josef Newgarden made a daring pass for the lead 30 laps from the finish of the Gateway race and drove on to his third win in the last four IndyCar Series races.

The Team Penske driver won by 0.6850 of a second over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon to also extend his championship lead unofficially to 31 points over Dixon with two races remaining this season.

The IndyCar Series returned to Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis for the first time since 2003 and was greeted by a crowd overflowing the grandstand in the frontstretch. In turn, the 21 drivers put on a thrilling show on the 1.25-mile oval.

Newgarden, in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, led 170 of the 248 laps but trailed teammate Simon Pagenaud on a Lap 212 restart after the final round of pit stops. Newgarden moved inside of Pagenaud’s No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet as they battled down the front straight and the two cars touched entering Turn 1.

The contact forced Pagenaud to drift up in the corner and slow, allowing Dixon to slip past in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda. Pagenaud finished in third place.

Helio Castroneves gave Team Penske three of the top four finishers when he finished fourth in the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet. Castroneves led 52 laps early but stalled his car during a Lap 157 pit stop and couldn’t recover.

Conor Daly finished fifth in the No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, the American’s best finish with the team this season and his best showing since placing fourth last year at Watkins Glen.

The start of the race was slowed by a pair of incidents. Tony Kanaan spun in Turn 2 on the pace lap and backed his No. 10 NTT Data Honda into the SAFER Barrier. Kanaan went laps down while the car was repaired and eventually finished 16th.

When the green flag did wave, pole sitter Will Power spun in nearly the same place as Kanaan and hit the wall in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The cars of Ed Carpenter and Takuma Sato touched as they tried to avoid Power, sending both into the wall as well. None of the drivers was injured but their races were over before the race had barely begun.

The unofficial Verizon IndyCar Series standings have Newgarden in the lead with 547 points, Dixon second with 516, Castroneves third at 505, Pagenaud fourth at 504 and Power fifth with 464. Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Sato all remain mathematically alive for the championship as well.

By finishing 13th tonight, Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones clinched Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors for the season.

The next race is the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen, from the road course at Watkins Glen International.


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IndyCar Series returned to Gateway Motorsports Park in speedy fashion, with two drivers logging laps in opening practice for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline under the official track record.

Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden each turned laps on the 1.25-mile oval quicker than the lap standard set 20 years ago by Raul Boesel of 24.324 seconds. Since track records may only be set in qualifying or a race, Boesel’s mark will hold up at least until this evening’s Verizon P1 Award qualifying session 

Power is fresh off a win five days ago at Pocono Raceway – his third victory of the season. The Australian also drew the favored last position in the order for this evening’s qualifying.

“There’s lot more grip, it’s way smoother,” Power said of the recently repaved Gateway surface. “It was a very quick session, so we’ll go back and think about qualifying, what we’ve got to do. Going last in line, so that’s good. Get to see how people do first.”

Indy cars haven’t race at Gateway – situated just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis – since 2003. Making qualifying simulation runs late in the 60-minute opening practice, Power ran a lap of 24.2521 seconds (185.551 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to lead the 21-car field. Championship leader Newgarden, in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevy, was second at 24.2635 seconds (185.464 mph).

Team Penske drivers nailed down the top four spots in the practice, with Simon Pagenaud third in the No. 1 Menards Chevrolet (24.4552 seconds, 184.010 mph) and Helio Castroneves fourth in the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevrolet (24.4598 seconds, 183.975 mph).

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Ed Jones was the fastest non-Penske and non-Chevrolet with a lap of 24.5365 seconds 183.400 mph in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda. Sebastien Bourdais, Jones’ teammate at Dale Coyne Racing, made his first competitive appearance since fracturing his right hip and pelvis in a May 20 crash while qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Bourdais was 15th on the speed chart with a lap of 24.8177 seconds 181.322 mph.

Newgarden takes an 18-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon into the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, the 15th of 17 races in the 2017 IndyCar Series season.