Will Power takes Iowa pole, to start first for 52nd time

NEWTON, Iowa -- Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power will start from the front row for Sunday's IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway after winning the pole.

Power was the fastest during Saturday's qualifying with a two-lap average of 182.391 mph, giving Team Penske its fourth straight pole at Iowa.

He will start first for the 52nd time in his career. But none of the previous 11 pole sitters at Iowa have gone on to win the race.

Josef Newgarden, whose up-and-down season is back on an upswing after a dominant win at Road America two weeks ago, will start alongside Power.

Iowa Speedway was the scene of perhaps Newgarden's most impressive performance in 2016, and he will hope for a repeat to close the gap further on series leader Scott Dixon. Newgarden sits fourth in the standings, 50 points behind Dixon.

"Us testing here is a benefit ... [and] I think it's more important this year just because it's a new car -- and Iowa is its own animal," said Newgarden, who led a record 282 of 300 laps to win at Iowa two years ago. "Even having been to Phoenix, another short oval, I don't think a lot of that really applies here because Iowa is just crazy unique. It's a lot bumpier."

Ryan Hunter-Reay will start third, followed by Simon Pagenaud.

Hunter-Reay acknowledged that, between the new setups and what could be much warmer conditions Sunday, it should be an interesting race to say the least.

"We have some good momentum going here at Iowa," Hunter-Reay said. "It's just that nobody really knows how the race will play out. Once we get into 50 laps on tires, we still have to go another 20, 30 more. It's going to be really light, very busy behind the wheel. Just a lot less downforce to deal with this year."

Dixon, who is on a stretch of six consecutive top-four finishes, including wins at Belle Isle and Texas, qualified sixth.

"It's a track that you can pass well," Dixon said. "Hopefully the pit stops and strategies for us, they've been pretty good, pretty strong of recent and we can use that to our advantage."