Auto Club Pole to Andretti

Andretti Pole

Andretti upstaged championship contenders Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay by winning the pole for Saturday's IndyCar season finale at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)


The IZOD IndyCar Series championship contenders will start the title-deciding race mid-pack and further back following qualifications for the Sept. 15 MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway.

Will Power takes a 17-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay entering the 250-lap race on the 2-mile oval. Power qualified third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car with a two-lap average speed of 215.940 mph. Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport, qualified 17th at 212.773 mph.

Both will incur 10 grid spot penalties for fitting their sixth Chevrolet engines of the season (series rules specify five fresh engines per year of the engine manufacturer agreement).

"Not a great qualifying run for us but it's a 500-mile race so really not that bummed about it," said Hunter-Reay, who has two short-oval victories this season. "We just hadn't dialed our qualifying trim in with the DHL/Sun Drop car and that caught us out a bit. We missed the balance and (the car) took off on me a bit there at the exit. It was definitely hard to put a good two laps together.

"We've been focusing on the race though. That's the big thing."

There are a myriad of scenarios for either driver to claim their first series title. In a nutshell, Power wins the $1 million bonus if he finishes ahead of Hunter-Reay.

"It's a 500-mile race. We are focused on the things we can control," he said. "We are going to do what we can and see how it ends up. Just hang in there, just stay there and hopefully have a shot."

Marco Andretti earned his first pole start since Milwaukee in 2008 (76 races) with a two-lap average of 216.773 mph in the No. 26 Team RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport.

"It means a lot with what we have been going through this year," said Andretti, who has one top-five finish through the first 14 races. "It's just been a very trying year for me and my career. It's good for the confidence."

Along with Power and Hunter-Reay the following drivers will have 10 grid spot penalties: Helip Castroneves (Fitting sixth engine), Scott Dixon (Unapproved engine change), Wade Cunningham (Unapproved engine change), Takuma Sato (Unapproved engine change), Justin Wilson (Unapproved engine change), Graham Rahal (Unapproved engine change), Josef Newgarden (Unapproved engine change), Simona De Silvestro (Unapproved engine change), Charlie Kimball (Unapproved engine change), Simon Pagenaud (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine), Alex Tagliani (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine) and James Hinchcliffe (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine).


Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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