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Australian Will Power wins pole for Long Beach Grand Prix

April 16, 2011 |  5:10 pm


Three races, three poles.

Will Power on Saturday won the pole position for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third consecutive year that he's started first in the Izod IndyCar Series race.

Power also has captured the pole for all three of the series’ races so far this season, and he won the second race last weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The Australian also won the Long Beach Grand Prix in 2008, when the race was sanctioned by the Champ Car World Series. That series then reunited with IndyCar to form a single series for U.S. open-wheel racing.

"It's one of my favorite tracks," Power said of the 1.97-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street course. "I love it around here."

The Team Penske driver won the pole with a lap of 102.582 mph Saturday. Ryan Hunter-Reay of the Andretti Autosport team, who won the Long Beach Grand Prix last year, was second at 102.469 mph.

Mike Conway qualified third in the 27-car field and Oriol Servia was fourth. Helio Castroneves was sixth, Ryan Briscoe was 12th and Danica Patrick qualified 20th. Charlie Kimball, a rookie from Camarillo, was 24th.

Reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, who won the Long Beach race in 2009, qualified seventh. Power finished second to Franchitti by a mere five points in last year's championship battle.


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Photo: Will Power, left, shakes hands with Ryan Hunter-Reay on Saturday after Power won the pole position for the Toyota Grarnd Prix of Long Beach. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press