Juan Montoya has been riding a hot streak lately, and today he rode it all the way to the front of the field. Montoya won the pole for tomorrow’s 500 mile race at Pocono, with a fastest lap of 223.920 mph. His teammate Will Power and Andretti Autosport driver Carlos Munoz will join him on the front row on Sunday. This is the first IndyCar pole for Montoya since Surfer’s Paradise in October of 2000. It’s been quite the past couple of weeks for Montoya, who has finished third, second, and seventh during that span to climb into fifth place of the championship.
Andretti Autosport seemed to have the place figured out, which was no surprise. There were some other drivers near the top though that raised a few eyebrows. Takuma Sato was exceptionally quick in his ABC Supply machine. Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, and Mikhail Aleshin were also near the top of the speed charts in practice on Saturday.
Josef Newgarden drifted up the track and made significant contact with the wall during his qualifying run. Rookie Jack Hawksworth wasn’t as fortunate in Turn 1, where he spun and slammed into the outside wall during practice. He needed assistance to get out of his banged up BHA car. Hawksworth was diagnosed with a heart muscle bruise, and was held overnight in the hospital. The team will not race on Sunday, and turn their attention to Iowa next weekend, where Jack will need to be re-evaluated in order to get back in the car.
Coverage for tomorrow’s race starts at Noon ET on NBC Sports Network. The 500 mile race will feature rows of three during the start, and will reward double the points in the championship. This is the second leg of the Triple Crown, with Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the first leg, which was this year’s Indianapolis 500. Power enters Sunday with a 39 point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves in the championship standings.
Below you can watch Hawksworth’s accident from today’s practice, courtesy of IndyCar.