Helio Castroneves on IndyCar pole at Pocono
Helio Castroneves led a Team Penske sweep on Saturday of the top three qualifying spots for Sunday`s IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway -- but that trio doesn`t include series leader Juan Pablo Montoya.
Brazil`s Castroneves earned his fourth pole position of the season with a two-lap average speed of 220.530 mph (354.91 Km/h) on the 2.5 mile (4.02 Km) "Tricky Triangle" of Pocono, which features sharper turns than a traditional oval track, each turn banked differently and each straightaway a different length.
The design puts a premium on car and chassis set-up, and Castroneves believed his crew had nailed it.
"We`re solid. I can`t wait for the race," said the Brazilian, who bumped fellow Penske driver Simon Pagenaud of France from the provisional pole.
Australian Penske pilot Will Power will start third, but Colombia`s Montoya will start from 19th on the grid in his Penske.
"You can`t really know what`s going to happen. We`ve done a really good job all year, like everybody else, had ups and downs, and we`ll see what it brings," said Montoya, who won at Pocono last year after setting the track qualifying record.
Montoya enters the race with a nine-point lead over American Graham Rahal in the championship standings. New Zealand`s Scott Dixon is in third place, followed by Castroneves and reigning series champion Power.
Rahal qualified fifth for Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing -- behind fourth-fastest Josef Newgarden -- and Dixon qualified 11th in his Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
Ten drivers are still mathematically eligible for the title, which will be decided August 30 in the Grand Prix of Sonoma season finale, which will carry double points.
The qualifying session was marred by an accident involving Charlie Kimball, who hit a barrier and went airborn into the catch fencing.
He was cleared to drive and will start from the last row of the grid in a back-up car.