IndyCar points leader Simon Pagenaud knows Australia’s Will Power is chasing him down so earning the pole for the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race Sports Car Course was important.
Pagenaud set a course record with a lap at 127.271 mp/h around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course Saturday to edge out Power, his Team Penske teammate,.
The Frenchman Pagenaud increased his lead to 48 points entering the race on Sunday.
“That’s what you need to do to win the championship,” Pagenaud said. “It’s a long season. That’s what we were doing at the beginning of the season to extend the gap.”
Power temporarily held the course record in qualifying before being surpassed by Pagenaud, but will start in the front row and is in good position to win for the fourth time in the past five races, including the last one at Toronto on July 17.
He hopes for good weather on Sunday after two days of showers.
“A dry race would be very nice,” Power said.
“This course in the rain is very tough. Whatever it is we’ll try to the best we can to. We’ve got to beat to make sure we have a good day and keep beating the 22 car (Pagenaud).”