Scott Dixon rebounded from a dire Friday to put the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda #9 into fifth, 1.6sec from Castroneves' best, while sixth placed Graham Rahal elected to save his softer compound red tires and just do a final run on blacks.
So even though Sunday's wasn't the most dramatic or newsworthy race, it was still the most telling for what IndyCar will be moving forward, and it looks awfully similar to what we've seen the past few seasons. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow".
The Kiwi driver qualified in the top five for the seventh time in 10 races this season during the Sunday (NZ time) qualifying session.
TOUGH DAY FOR TONY: Tony Kanaan will start 16th, a season-low for the veteran driver. Kanaan said Rossi moved over on him, and the contact between them broke Kanaan's left front wing. Fast facts: The series returns to Baku for the second straight season. The damage to the Ganassi Racing vehicle was significant, and Kanaan appeared to escape injury, although he was none too happy with Rossi.
Buon compleanno Renzo Arbore. Compie 80 anni l'innovatore nazionalpopolare
E' sempre stato alternativo, figurarsi ora che ha raggiunto le 80 primavere. Siamo certi che l'avrebbe fatto solo se si fosse divertito abbastanza.
Dixon will have a hill to climb in the overall leaderboard, with Mario Andretti up in second place at 52 and A.J. Hoyt sitting in first with 67.
Limited practice for Mikhail Aleshin due to visa problems proved costly and he was only 19th quickest ahead of Indy 500 victor Takuma Sato and Conor Daly in last place. Castroneves had been tied with Bobby Unser (49).
American Newgarden was second with Brazilian pole sitter Helio Castroneves third, reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud of France fourth and 2016 Road America victor Will Power of Australia fifth.
Race strategist responsibilities for Castroneves will fall to his race engineer, Jonathan Diuguid, who will take on the dual role.
Rahal battled his way from 13th throughout a large portion of the race to finish eighth, while Sato crashed out early. He finished 19th of 21. Last year: Will Power won from the pole. Attendance figures were not released, but track officials are expected to host the event in 2018 on the same corresponding weekend (June 22-24). Last race: Power won in Texas, his 31st victory in the series.