Not even illness could slow Australian IndyCar driver Will Power on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Power led a Team Penske sweep of the top four spots in qualifying for the IndyCar season-opener, and he did it in record time.
Power broke his own track record three times on Saturday (Sunday AEDT). His best time around the streets of St. Petersburg was in the second session, but he won the pole position in the third session at 1 minute, 0.2450 seconds. The record set in his second session was 1:00.0658.
It was Power’s sixth pole at St. Pete in nine career races. The Aussie has won 43 career poles.
Power downplayed the qualifying session, but praised his Penske team for repairing his car after he wrecked it on Friday.
“Had to replace the whole rear end. First-class team, I love driving for Team Penske,” he said.
Power is a two-time winner at St. Pete but didn’t reveal much in terms of his strategy for the race on Sunday (Monday AEDT).
“We’ll be good, do our thing and see what happens,” he said.
He later admitted he wasn’t feeling well and skipped the post-qualifying news conference.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling pretty ill all day,” he said. “It was a struggle to get through qualifying, honestly, but we were able to do it … I just started feeling a lot worse. I’ll try to get some good rest tonight and come back ready to race on Sunday.”
Simon Pagenaud qualified second and was followed by Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya, the defending race winner. The four Penske drivers will try to give owner Roger Penske his eighth win in 12 tries at St. Pete.