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Because the battle for the Verizon IndyCar Collection championship heats up, Takuma Sato laid down two blazing laps to win the pole at Pocono Saturday. The successful driver of this 12 months’s 101st Indianapolis 500 ran two quick laps for a mixed time of 1:21.9526 across the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped Pocono Raceway.

That put his Honda on the pole with a two-lap common velocity of 219.639 mile per hour within the No. 26 Honda.

It was the seventh pole of Sato’s Verizon IndyCar Collection profession and his second this season. He began on the pole for the second Detroit doubleheader race in June.

“I at all times benefit from the observe previously years and although I don’t have a win right here and have had a tough expertise, I’ve at all times loved it,” Sato mentioned. “That is why placing down on pole right here is one thing very particular, particularly after Indy 500, coming to a different 500 race, with whole crew from the 26 automotive we did an impressive job.”

Sato was the final driver to make a qualification try on Saturday in a session that was slowed two occasions for giant crashes. The primary concerned Helio Castroneves, who crashed within the Flip 1 wall simply 31 minutes into the session.

The largest crash got here one hour later when 2015 Pocono winner Ryan Hunter-Reay pounded his Honda into the Flip three SAFER Barrier after which into the infield pit wall on his qualification try. The 2014 Indianapolis 500 successful driver was complaining of hip ache proper after the crash and needed to helped by IndyCar officers to be transported from the scene to the infield medical heart.

Hunter-Reay was later transported by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest in close by Allentown, Pennsylvania for additional analysis. Castroneves was unhurt.

Because the final driver to make a qualification try, Sato’s Honda was sooner than Workforce Penske’s Simon Pagenaud’s Chevrolet after it had recorded a two-lap common velocity of 219.395 mph.

“A bit quick,” Pagenaud mentioned. “Nevertheless it was an excellent occasion, superb qualifying for us. The automotive has been robust all day. Ben Bretzman, my engineer, simply nailed the gearing, the steadiness on the automotive. That was one of the best we might do.

“I am fairly glad. A entrance row begin is absolutely good, our greatest begin right here in Pocono. It’s a 500-mile race, so rather a lot can occur.

“Right this moment was just about ego day attempting to get that pole place. For us it could have been good to get one other level. However general I feel we did our greatest and we’ll go to mattress fairly glad with in the present day. Tonight, we’re simply going to work once more on the racecar and attempt to discover much more steadiness in it to be good in visitors.”

Charlie Kimball’s Honda was third at 219.369 mph over a two-lap run adopted by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan’s 219.zero12 mph. Final 12 months’s Pocono winner, Workforce Penske’s Will Energy, rounded out the highest 5 at 218.688 mph over a five-mile run.

Josef Newgarden enters the race with a seven-point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves within the battle for the Verizon IndyCar Collection championship. Newgarden certified 14th at 217.235 mph. Castroneves begins 20th as a result of he by no means completed his qualification try.

Scott Dixon is third within the standings, eight factors out of the lead and one level behind Castroneves. He was the primary to make a qualification try and can begin ninth after a two-lap run at 217.819 mph.

Pagenaud is fourth within the standings, 17 out, Energy is fifth, 52 again and Graham Rahal is sixth, 58 out of the lead. Rahal certified seventh at 218.099 mph.

Sato is seventh within the standings, 72 factors behind the chief.

“I feel it is mathematically nonetheless potential to problem the championship, though it is somewhat bit unrealistic to problem the successful of the championship,” Sato mentioned. “However as I mentioned, mathematically it is potential.

“We attempt to get the nice factors popping out right here as a result of I feel superspeedway, Andretti Autosport have nice historical past, nice begin. There is definitely no motive why difficult for the successful tomorrow’s race. I do not wish to take into consideration an excessive amount of for the double 500 win. 500 race, it is so lengthy. As you seen in the present day’s qualifying, something can occur. I feel not solely my teammates, but additionally different drivers have difficult points in the present day, due to wind course, as a result of we trim a lot.

“We see Ryan’s second. That basically made me nervous as a result of he was simply in entrance of me. We share plenty of components and philosophy on the automotive. So, it is straight anticipating what he has is what I’ve.

“I used to be in a position to put down an important lap, and I actually should say thanks to all my group.”

It was the seventh pole of Sato’s Verizon IndyCar Collection profession and his second this season. Photograph by LAT Photographic

Qualifying Saturday for the ABC Provide 500 Verizon IndyCar Collection occasion on the two.5-mile Pocono Raceway, with qualifying place, automotive quantity in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, and velocity:

1. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 219.639 mph

2. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 219.395 mph

three. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 219.369 mph

four. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 219.zero12 mph

5. (12) Will Energy, Chevrolet, 218.688 mph

6. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 218.622 mph

7. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 218.099 mph

eight. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 218.zero20 mph

9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 217.819 mph

10. (eight) Max Chilton, Honda, 217.748 mph

11. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 217.565 mph

12. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 217.556 mph

13. (18) Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 217.292 mph

14. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 217.235 mph

15. (7) Sebastian Saavedra, Honda, 216.943 mph

16. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 216.801 mph

17. (four) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 215.964 mph

18. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 215.115 mph

19. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 214.988 mph

20. (three) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, no velocity

21. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, no velocity

22. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, no velocity

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