FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Will Power struggled in qualifying for the final race of the IndyCar season on Friday, leaving the series leader starting in 21st place when he chases his first championship.
While Power had the second-worst performance in qualifying, Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves won the pole. Castroneves turned a lap with an average speed of 218.540 mph to win the 41st pole of his career, passing Rick Mears for fourth place in series history.
Castroneves trails Power by 50 points in second place heading into the season finale. Both drivers are attempting to win their first IndyCar titles.
Although starting position isn't exactly vital in a 500-mile oval race, the difference between the Penske drivers is stark. Castroneves was concerned by his teammate's poor performance in qualifying, even though it could benefit him personally.
Power says his qualifying went "as bad as it could possibly go" in 99-degree temperatures on the well-aged track that was built by Roger Penske, his team owner. Power won the Fontana race from the pole last year.
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