Power, who also topped yesterday’s 90-minute practice, was second from last car to run in qualifying, as the order is defined by reversed entrant points and he sits second in the points race currently.

IndyCar’s format of qualifying for double-headers on ovals since 2020 has been to have the cars run two laps, but with everyone’s first lap defining the grid for Race 1, and the second lap for Race 2.

Power was the only driver to run 178mph laps, and vaulted to the top, to shade teammate Josef Newgarden, but Power described his runs to 18.0sec laps around the 0.894-mile course as “messy”.

“I was bottoming a lot, skipping up the track,” said Power who had taken three poles previously at Iowa but is still seeking his first win there. “I was surprised I was the quickest.

“I was wheeling it as much as you could. I was leaving nothing on the table. There were 17s [17-second laps] in the car, for sure. I just put everything into it, overdrove it a little bit. But, yeah, pretty good.”

Power denied that his “new” high line around the D-shaped oval had played into his pole.

“That was the bottom of the car, skipping up track!” he said. “I saw how fast the lap times were, meaning that people weren’t having a big lift [off the throttle]. I had to really drive it. That’s why I said there was probably a 17 in there if you were able to get down low enough.”

With two poles this weekend, Power has moved to within one of Mario Andretti’s all-time pole record of 67, and the 2014 champion admitted he now thought he could match the legend this season.

Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “I could get a pole before the end of the year. These two poles are key. I was thinking about ’em all season, put a lot of focus on this race for that reason. If I got those two, it’s very realistic I could get that record.”

In terms of wins, Power is fifth in the all-time ranking with 41, which leaves him one behind Mario’s son Michael Andretti. Asked if he thinks 50 wins is achievable before the end of his carer, Power responded, “Never say never but 50 is a lot these days: that’s a lot more years.

“At best you can win three a year unless you’re having a fantastic year. Yeah, I don’t think I could get to 50, but 45 is realistic. Just going to keep chipping away here, that’s all we can do. You can’t think about when you might stop or any of that stuff. You just got to keep chipping away, racking up results…

“Even where I’m at, like, I’m happy. I just could never have imagined getting more than 40 wins in a career. When you get your first win, you think, wow, 40 wins, you’ll take that!”

Although Power steered clear of predictions about finally landing his first Iowa victory, he admitted he hoped it was a good chance to close on championship leader Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, who currently lies 35 points ahead. The latest Indy 500 winner will start the two Iowa races from 12th and 15th respectively.

“I’m hoping that this is a good weekend for us to catch Marcus because he’s very tough,” said Power. “He’s not the best qualifier, but he’s probably the best racer in the series, in my opinion.

“Just over the years watching him race, he’s one of the toughest guys. He’s very, very good at starting back there and making his way all the way to the front… He’s no joke. He’s tough to beat.”

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