Helio Castroneves won the 41st pole of his IndyCar career in qualifying Friday for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Castroneves posted a two-lap average of 218.540 mph on the 2-mile oval and moved ahead of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears for fourth in career poles in IndyCar history.
Castroneves picked up one bonus point in the championship race for winning the pole, which was his third of the year. He trails series leader and teammate Will Power by 50 points entering the final race of the season.
"It ain't over; it's just beginning," Castroneves said. "Our job is to be aggressive over the 500 miles and finish where we started."
Juan Pablo Montoya qualified second at 217.621 mph, followed by Josef Newgarden at 217.600 mph.
Power was one of the slowest qualifiers at 21st with a two-lap average of 212.604 mph. Simon Pagenaud, also in contention for the series championship, qualified 13th at 215.752 mph.
"With the starting position, I'd rather start at the very front or the very back to stay out of trouble early on," Power said. "It's obviously all about the race; it's very long and we'll be racing in different conditions."