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Will Power wins his sixth pole for Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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With a name like Will Power, you might guess that the Indycar driver had a bit of intestinal fortitude.

Despite a stomach bug, Power set a record for qualifying for Sunday’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix. Power had a record of 1:00.5678 with his first lap, and his second was 1:00.0658 in his Verizon No. 12.

It was Power’s sixth pole at St. Pete in nine career races. The Australian has won 43 career poles.

What a great run today for the Verizon Chevy team,” said Power, who won the St. Pete race in 2010 and 2014. “It’s an awesome feeling to be able to put the new-look Verizon car on pole again here at St. Pete.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling pretty ill all day,” he added. “It was a struggle to get through qualifying, honestly, but we were able to do it and after the Verizon P1 Award presentation I just started feeling a lot worse.

“The car was great today and a big credit to the guys for doing a terrific job in qualifying. I’ll try to get some good rest tonight and come back ready to race on Sunday.”

Simon Pagenaud, in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet, will start second following a lap of 1:00.4421 (107.210 mph). Three-time St. Pete winner Helio Castroneves qualified third in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:00.4995, 107.108 mph) and defending race winner Juan Pablo Montoya fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (1:00.5312, 107.052 mph).

“Great effort for the whole organization,” Castroneves said. “To have 1-2-3-4 again, it shows we’re really working together as a team. We want to win as a team and we’re going to keep pushing. Great effort for Team Penske.”

Today’s race starts at 12:42.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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