NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Will Power has made a name for himself on road courses, but he's always wanted to be considered one of the best all-around drivers in the Indy Racing League.
Power took a major step in that direction on Saturday, winning his first career pole on an oval course for Sunday's Iowa 250.
Power has now earned four poles this season and six in his last 14 IndyCar Series races. But by earning the front spot on the Iowa Speedway's .875-mile short oval, Power put himself in the best position yet for what he really wants — that elusive first oval win.
"It's great to get an oval pole. But I mean, I'd love to win a race on an oval. That's the real beginning," Power said.
Power gave Team Penske a record seventh straight IndyCar pole position. He qualified with an average lap of 181.337 mph, beating out Scott Dixon by a fraction of a second.
Dixon joined Power on the front row for Sunday's race. Marco Andretti will start third and Helio Castroneves is fourth. Points leader Dario Franchitti, who won at Iowa in 2007 and 2009, will start fifth and Danica Patrick will start ninth.
Power won the first two races of the season, road courses in Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg, and sits three points behind Franchitti in the points standings. But he's got just one top-10 finish on an oval in 2010, coming in eighth at the Indy 500.
Power finished ninth in his debut at Iowa last season.
"You've got to have a solid car around here, and honestly I think it's about reading the traffic well," Power said. "It's easy to get held up, so you've got to be smart with that."
Dixon has been the most consistent driver at Iowa the past few seasons — save for Franchitti, of course — with a fourth-place finish in 2008 and a fifth-place finish last year. Andretti's been solid at Iowa Speedway as well, finishing second in 2007.