Pagenaud wins pole for Sunday’s Belle Isle race

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Simon Pagenaud leads Helio Castroneves into a turn during Race 1 Saturday on Belle Isle.

Detroit – Simon Pagenaud won the pole Sunday morning for Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle IndyCar doubleheader.

Pagenaud topped the field for the second straight qualifying session in his No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet for Team Penske, this time with a time of 1:14.037. He started from the pole Saturday, but ran out of fuel late and finished 13th.

Pagenaud will enter the 3:50 p.m. race Sunday with the points lead. Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport will start second in his DHL Honda, followed by Helio Castroneves of Team Penske.

Pagenaud’s Team Penske teammate Will Power actually had the fastest time of 1:13.883, but it was wiped off the board when he was penalized for impeding Marco Andretti’s progress on the track while driving in rainy conditions in Session 2 of qualifying. Pagenaud competed among a group of 11 drivers in Session 1 with a dry track.

“It was raining and I couldn’t go any faster," explained Power. "It's just the way everything seems to go right now.  Of course it would rain in our session. I can’t win, quickest in practice to get the second session, but then it was very difficult on the out lap.

"It's so frustrating. We were so fast. I don’t agree with the penalty. I think the guys got it wrong because they don’t understand the conditions. It was wet.”

Power, the 2014 series champion, finished 20th in Race No. 1 due to mechanical problems, exiting with 26 laps remaining of the 70-lap event around the 13-turn, 2.3-mile street course. He had led at one point.

Power will start eighth. He has suffered through a tough season, starting out by missing the season opener after a crash the day before. He finished on the podium in the next race at Phoenix, finishing third, but has yet to get another top-three spot this season.