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Hunter-Reay claims pole for IndyCar race at Long Beach

<p>Ryan Hunter-Reay won the pole position while his teammate, James Hinchcliffe, finished second in Saturday's IndyCar Series qualifying to give Andretti Autosport a front row speed for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.</p>

Long Beach, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Hunter-Reay won the pole position while his teammate, James Hinchcliffe, finished second in Saturday's IndyCar Series qualifying to give Andretti Autosport a front row speed for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Hinchcliffe held the provisional pole in the closing seconds of the final round of qualifying (Fast Six) before Hunter-Reay completed his lap around this 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in 1 minute, 7.8219 seconds to take the top starting position for Sunday's race.

Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, claimed his sixth career pole, including his first at Long Beach. He had qualified second here in 2010, '11 and '13.

"What a qualifying session," Hunter-Reay said. "You never knew who was going to put in the best lap. It was anybody's session. It's a good start for us, but tomorrow is going to be challenging."

Hinchcliffe's laps was only 0.1184 seconds behind Hunter-Reay.

"For us to be front row, I'm happy about that, but I'm looking for that first pole." Hinchcliffe said. "I've been so close so many times, but if you're going to lose it, I'm glad it's to a teammate, so congrats to Ryan."

Sebastien Bourdais, who won this race three times when it was sanctioned by Champ Car, qualified third, while Josef Newgarden took the fourth spot. Rookie Jack Hawksworth was fifth and Simon Pagenaud sixth.

Scott Dixon, the defending series champion, and Helio Castroneves, who finished second in points last year, failed to advance into the final round. Dixon will start seventh and Castroneves ninth.

Will Power, a two-time race winner and three-time pole sitter at Long Beach, and Takuma Sato, who won this event last year, did not make it out of the first round of qualifying.

Power will start 14th in his attempt to win a fourth straight IndyCar race. The Team Penske driver ended the '13 season with victories in Houston and Fontana, Calif. and then began this season by winning in St. Petersburg, Fla. two weeks ago.

Sato, who started on the pole and finished seventh in St. Pete., incurred a qualifying penalty for interfering with Hunter-Reay during the first round, negating his two quickest laps. He will start 15th.

"After warming up on my red tires, I was just starting my qualifying lap and [Hunter-Reay] was on charge finishing his lap on blacks," Sato said. "Unfortunately, we came close in the very last sector where the timing line is. I didn't feel it would affect him on his lap time, but they [IndyCar race officials] decided to penalize me."

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