Marco Andretti captures pole for Milwaukee IndyFest

USA TODAY Sports

Marco Andretti led Andretti Autosport to a front-row sweep of Friday's qualifying session at the Milwaukee Mile. Team Andretti cars took four of the top five spots in time trials.

The Andretti Autosport dominance of the Milwaukee Mile continued on Friday as Marco Andretti took the pole for Saturday's Milwaukee IndyFest, leading a contingent of Team Andretti cars that took four of the top five spots during the session.

It's the third pole of Marco's career but potentially the most rewarding, as it comes in advance of Father's Day. Michael Andretti is both Marco's team owner and the promoter of the second-year event.

The pole is also rewarding because it pays a bonus point to the season championship battle. Andretti will now enter the race trailing championship leader Helio Castroneves by 21 markers. And as recent title fights have proven, every point could make the difference.

"So far, that was about as good as we could run, so I'm pleased," Andretti said. "I think the RC Cola car will be tough to beat, which is obviously why we come here, but if we can grab a (bonus) point let's do it. A win would be huge. I told Dad that hopefully (the pole) is only half of his Father's Day gift."

Andretti took the top spot with a record-setting two-lap average speed of 170.515 mph over teammate James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso. Power, a Team Penske driver, was the only driver in the top fivenot affiliated with Andretti Autosport.

Hunter-Reay is the defending race winner.

Castroneves will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to maintain his championship lead after qualifying 18th.

"Wow, that was a tough qualifying -- one of the toughest of my career," Castroneves said. "The PPG Team Penske Chevrolet has been good all day but I think we got a little greedy there. We took a gamble on the downforce, going really low thinking that that the track would be better and it just wasn't. The car got sideways a couple of times and I'm just glad the car came in on all four wheels."

The complete qualifying results can be found below:

  1. Marco Andretti
  2. James Hinchcliffe
  3. Will Power
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  5. EJ Viso
  6. Sebastian Saavedra
  7. Tony Kanaan
  8. Josef Newgarden
  9. Simon Pagenaud
  10. Tristan Vautier
  11. Scott Dixon
  12. James Jakes
  13. Justin Wilson
  14. Sebastien Bourdais
  15. Takuma Sato
  16. Alex Tagliani
  17. Dario Franchitti
  18. Helio Castroneves
  19. Ryan Briscoe
  20. Ana Beatriz
  21. Ed Carpenter
  22. Charlie Kimball
  23. Graham Rahal
  24. Simona De Silvestro
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