On a day with 30 mile per hour wind gusts through the late afternoon, the buzz around Phoenix Raceway (Avondale, AZ) was about whether the Verizon Series IndyCars would be able to safely navigate the evening’s qualifying session. But the winds relented and Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) piloted his Chevy powered Verizon car to pole position, breaking his own track record in the process. The three-time Indy 500 winner had been awarded a "Speed King” crown trimmed in a silver color for his 2016 track record, but for this latest record (194.905mph) he received a new gold colored trim version. Castroneves said after this new record-setting performance, “I wanted that crown so bad!”
This second pole of the season and 49th career pole overall marks another milestone for the Brazilian driver as he draws alongside Bobby Unser, another three-time Indy 500 winner, tied for third all-time for IndyCar poles won.
Helio’s teammate Will Power secured the second place in qualifying, making it an all-Penske, all-Chevyfront row.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda), will defend his 2016 Phoenix victory in tonight's VERIZON Series’ Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix which begins at 6:35pm local time (9:35pm EST) and can be viewed live on NBCSN.