West Allis, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Will Power will start on the pole for Sunday's IndyCar Series race after topping the charts in qualifying at The Milwaukee Mile.
Power, the current points leader, recorded a two-lap average speed of 169.262 mph during Saturday's qualifying at this flat one-mile oval. The 33-year-old Australian claimed his third pole of the season and the 35th of his IndyCar career.
Earning one bonus point for his pole win, Power now holds a five-point advantage over Helio Castroneves, his teammate at Team Penske.
"It's great to start up front," Power said. "This is definitely a track- position race."
Three races remain. After Milwaukee, the series will run at Sonoma Raceway and then conclude its season at the end of this month at Auto Club Speedway.
Power has 23 career wins in IndyCar competition, but only two of those victories have occurred on ovals -- Texas (race 2) in 2011 and last year's season-finale at ACS. He has five previous starts at Milwaukee, with his best finish of third here occurring in 2013.
"Obviously, a win tomorrow would be phenomenal as far as the championship goes," he said. "It would just be cool to get a win on a short oval as well. Just no other way to approach it but just be smart and keep your head down lap by lap. That's all you can do. You can't even think about the overall picture. Just head down."
Tony Kanaan, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing this season, will start alongside Power on the front row after posting a two-lap average of 168.662 mph. Kanaan is seeking his first win this season. He won back-to-back races here from 2006-07, driving for Andretti Green Racing at the time.
"We're starting on the front row, and we've just got to do our thing," Kanaan said. "We've been showing how quick we've been almost everywhere. We just need to get a little bit of luck on our side sometime. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll challenge Will and some of the guys. I think we have a good car and a chance to win."
Juan Pablo Montoya, a teammate of Power as well, qualified third, while Ryan Briscoe from Ganassi took the fourth spot. Josef Newgarden from Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing placed fifth.
Qualifying sixth through 10th were Charlie Kimball, Ed Carpenter, Castroneves, Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato.
"Starting up front is good, but it's not essential to winning," Castroneves said. "You can definitely pass here at Milwaukee, and pit strategy is always key. I thought the [car] was decent in race mode. If we can find a bit more speed, we can make it interesting tomorrow."
Scott Dixon, the defending series champion and winner of the most recent race two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, qualified 11th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay will start 19th in his attempt to win an IndyCar race at Milwaukee for the third straight year.
"We just missed the balance entirely today in qualifying," Hunter-Reay said. "It wasn't even close. Unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for it tomorrow."
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, is presently 64 points behind Power.