By Matt Baker
Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG - Will Power will start from the pole in Sunday's IndyCar Series season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The Team Penske driver won the pole for the seventh time in eight years at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course. Power won the pole last year, too, but missed the race because of what was believed to be a concussion.
Power, a two-time winner here, clocked a lap of 61.0640 seconds, topping Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Penske teammate Josef Newgarden. Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan qualified fifth and sixth.
Penske - which swept the top four qualifying spots each of the last two years - failed to advance half of its drivers beyond the first round of qualifying. Defending series champion Simon Pagenaud and three-time Grand Prix winner Helio Castroneves will start 14th and 16th, respectfully.
St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais hit the tire wall in the first round of qualifying, ending his session. He'll start last in the 21-car field.
Contact Matt Baker at email@example.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.