Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe survived three rounds of knockout qualifications to win his first PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award in the IndyCar Series since 2005. Briscoe survived the unique qualifying format that narrows the field from 26 to 12 to six. In the Firestone Fast Six session, Briscoe surpassed Justin Wilson in the final minute of the 10-minute session with a lap at 1 minute, 29.3456 seconds, 135.787 mph.
"It came down to the last lap," Briscoe said. "The team was telling me on the radio how we were progressing through the lap. There were one or two quicker lap times by other drivers, then all of the sudden they said, 'You're P2. P1 is a 1:29:38.' I knew I had to pull it all together. I'm really happy for Team Penske and all the effort they've put in to getting the car ready. It was a great last lap, and it's great to be on the front row with Justin Wilson. After seeing how this race can play out, it's a big help to start on the pole."
The pole is the fourth in a row for Team Penske at Watkins Glen. Helio Castroneves, who won the previous three poles, had mechanical difficulties during the first qualifying segment and did not turn a lap. He will start a career-worst 26th.
Wilson qualified a career-best second, while Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified a career-best third.
Scott Dixon, who will attempt to win a record-setting fourth consecutive race at Watkins Glen, will start fourth for the third time at the 11-turn, 3.37-mile circuit.
Oriol Servia and Tony Kanaan round out the first six starting positions for the 60-lap Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.