Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SMP Racing Honda secured his very first Verizon IndyCar Series P1 Award at Pocono Raceway on Saturday.

The Russian set a two lap qualifying average speed of 220.445mph and will start the race just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden and speaking following the session, Aleshin commented by saying:

It’s my first pole in INDYCAR and I am so happy to bring up the car, the No. 7 SMP Racing, up there. “The team did an amazing job. We had a couple of moments in turn one, but I decided to keep it flat and see what would happen. (Hitting) the wall didn’t happen, but pole position happened. Amazing.

He went on to say:

In the practice this morning, we were P1. What I know for sure is that in the practice, we were very good in the race mode. I hope it’s going to stay like this tomorrow and that’s what’s going to be really important. I mean, I’m happy to be fast by myself on the track but it’s not going to be like this in the race. We need to prepare for running in the pack tomorrow. The race is what’s important. That’s where you get the trophy.

It was Schmidt Peterson Motorsports second Verizon P1 Award of the season after James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Honda took his first Verizon P1 Award for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The Mayor of HinchTown will start Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway from sixth place on the grid showing that the Schmidt Peterson crew have two strong cars this weekend. Speaking following the session, Hinchcliffe commented by saying:

It was a solid effort from the whole Arrow Electronics team. “It’s awesome that Mikhail is on pole and we have another one for the team this year. We came here feeling fairly confident with the speedway package after the month of May, then we went one-two in practice and now we have two cars in the top six to start the race.

Hinch went on to say:

We’ll see what we can do with a five-hundred mile race. Obviously a lot can happen in that time but starting at the sharp end of the grid is definitely good. Also, huge credit goes to the Arrow Electronics crew for all the effort they put into these speedway cars and hopefully we can bring home a good result for them.

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