Sato beats Pagenaud to pole at Pocono
19 August 2017 – Andretti Autosport's Takuma Sato ran last in an eventful Saturday qualifying order for the ABC Supply 500, edging out Penske rival Simon Pagenaud for pole.
The defending Indianapolis 500 winner clocked a two-lap average of 219.639 mph, 0.244 mph quicker than the Frenchman.
Charlie Kimball had provisionally held P1 for most of the session after Tony Kanaan posted an early best speed of 219.012. Instead, the two will start third and fourth, respectively.
The day was punctuated by three sizeable crashes, the first of which occurred in practice to Ed Carpenter. His team successfully scrambled to repair his chassis before qualifying but arrived late to technical inspection.
Per IndyCar rules, he was not allowed a qualifying attempt.
During his first flying laps in qualifying, Hélio Castroneves also found the wall, losing control mid-corner and broadsiding the outer barrier in Turn 1. He was unhurt.
The same could not be said for Ryan Hunter-Reay, though, who radioed to his team that he felt hip pain following a similar impact later in the session.
His Andretti Autosport car speared the outside wall before rebounding against the inside one; he eventually climbed from the car, but has been transported via ground to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
Moments later, his team-mate Sato took to the track for two blistering laps, carrying the banner for Andretti Autosport. Alexander Rossi, the previous best qualifier from the team, will start sixth.
Just in front of him, Penske's Will Power lines up fifth for tomorrow's 500-mile contest. Graham Rahal managed to qualify close behind in seventh despite a deflating tyre hampering his run.
Gabby Chaves, making another outing for the Harding Racing operation, Scott Dixon and Max Chilton completed the top 10.
Conspicuously absent from the top of the order was championship leader Josef Newgarden, whose 217.235 mph average was only good enough for P14.
Sunday's 200-lap ABC Supply 500 goes green at 14:40 local time (GMT -5)