Power pulls within 4 of Andretti’s poles record

MADISON, Ill. — Will Power pulled within four of Marco Andretti‘s poles record Saturday when he earned the top spot at Worldwide Technology Raceway, the 63rd pole of his career.

It was the first of the season for the Australian, who a week ago earned his first victory of the year, and it extended his streak of winning at least one pole a season to 13 consecutive years — an IndyCar record. It pushed Power past Bobby Unser and Helio Castroneves.

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“It was very important to me to get a pole,” said Power, who isn’t convinced he can catch Andretti’s mark.

“I’m stoked to get [the] pole and get one more closer to Mario, but I mean that’s going to be a tough one to get, to be honest. I mean, it doesn’t get easier. The series only gets tougher, you see it this year, and I’ve had one pole this year.”

Power had a slight glitch in a gearshift change yet still beat Colton Herta for the pole by less than 0.1 mph. Power’s teammates at Team Penske, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, qualified third and fourth.

Pato O’Ward, who trails championship leader Alex Palou heading into Saturday night’s race near St. Louis, qualified fifth.

Palou qualified 12th but will actually start 21st because of a nine-spot penalty for an unapproved engine change. It’s the third unapproved engine change this season for Palou and second this month.

Romain Grosjean qualified 15th in his first career race on an oval. The Frenchman had moved from Formula One to IndyCar this season but had planned to run only road and street courses until he found himself missing the competition as he watched the Indianapolis 500 on television.

Grosjean, who tested at Gateway last month to make sure he wanted to race on an oval, pumped his fist in the air as he drove his car down pit lane following his qualifying attempt.

“Realistically, completing all 260 laps is my first goal,” Grosjean said. “I want to get to the end and get some experience. There’s a lot to learn but I am feeling more and more comfortable in the car.”

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