WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. --- The Penske juggernaut rolls on.
Will Power won the pole at Watkins Glen International on Saturday to lead a sweep of the top three spots by Team Penske, which extended its IndyCar Series record of consecutive poles to eight. It also was the fifth consecutive pole at Watkins Glen for Penske, which has yet to post a series win in five tries at the storied road course.
"I got the car the way I like it for qualifying," Power said after capturing his fifth pole of the season. "It's just three quick drivers, three good engineers, and a good group of people working together. We just have to make sure we convert it during the race."
Power covered the 11-turn, 3.4-mile course in 1 minute, 29.3164 seconds at 135.832 mph and was followed by teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.
"We're really pumped," said Castroneves, who barely missed his fourth pole at The Glen. "It's just a matter of now, make it happen. We have three chances to win this race. Hopefully, one of us will be able to make it."
Defending series champion Dario Franchitti was fourth, followed by rookie Takuma Sato and defending race winner Justin Wilson.
Danica Patrick, fresh from a one-week stint in NASCAR, struggled and will start 21st in the 25-car field for today's Camping World Grand Prix. Adam Carroll, an up-and-coming driver from Northern Ireland, will start 10th in his series debut. Canada's Paul Tracy will go off 12th in his first start of the season.
Qualifying on road and street courses is a three-step process. Initially, the drivers are split into two groups for 15-minute segments, with the top six in each group advancing to the next segment. The six fastest in that grouping of 12 then advance to a 10-minute shootout to decide the first three rows.
If anybody was going to knock Power out of the top spot, it was Castroneves. But he slid wildly off course into the gravel pit alongside turn 8 as the checkered flag was waving, ending his last chance.
"I wanted that pole position," Castroneves said. "It was a shame. It would have been very close. When they (his crew) told me two-tenths (behind), I said, 'I gotta do something really crazy here.' Unfortunately, it was a little too much."