Power claims another pole at Indy, Dixon's woes continue

Josef Newgarden leads Will Power, of Australia, through a turn during an IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Josef Newgarden leads Will Power, of Australia, through a turn during an IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power will start from the pole Saturday at Indianapolis after posting the fastest lap in morning qualifying.

The Australian driver from Team Penske posted a fast lap of 1:08.9767 to earn his fifth career pole on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It's his fifth pole this season and the 61st career pole, which is second all-time behind Mario Andretti (67).

Colton Herta starts second after going 1:09.1017. The 20-year-old Floridian finished fourth Friday after running near the front for most of the 85-lap race.

“We made a lot of changes last night," Power said, explaining he was not satisfied with Friday's car. “We were pretty weak so we did what we needed to do based on what the temperature and wind would do in the race. Stoked to be on the pole again and we'll see what we can do today."

But the bigger story may be Scott Dixon's continuing struggle.

The New Zealand driver came to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a 72-point lead over defending series champ Josef Newgarden and a chance to clinch his sixth championship for team owner Chip Ganassi.

Instead, Newgarden, Power's teammate, earned a bonus point by qualifying on the front row Thursday, when Dixon qualified 12th. And when Newgarden won Friday's race , with Dixon finishing ninth, the lead was trimmed to 40 points with two races remaining.

Now, after qualifying ninth, the Tennessean and two-time series champ could get even closer. Dixon qualified 15th for the 75-lap race that will be run in chilly, sunny conditions and could come down to fuel strategy.