As Pagenaud crossed the finish line for his second pole of the season, last year’s race winner, Scott Dixon, spun on a hot lap. Alexander Rossi also had a chance to win the pole on those last lap, but his car bobbled enough to spoil the lap.
That left the top spot to Pagenaud, who also won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in May. Pagenaud's lap was 58.4293 seconds.
CLICK IT: Unofficial Results of Qualifying
Dixon, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, settled for the second starting position, Rossi, an Andretti Autosport driver, the fourth.
Rookie Felix Rosenqvist, who is Dixon's teammate, will start third.
Team Penske's Josef Newgarden, who will start fifth, actually set the track record in the second round of qualifying at 58.4129 seconds.
Ed Jones of Ed Carpenter Racing made the Firestone Fast Six for the second time this year – the other was on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May. Jones started fifth that day; he will roll off sixth on Sunday.
Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport posted his best qualifying session of the year in 10th.
Will Power of Team Penske failed to escape the first round of knockout qualifying for the first time since the Long Beach race in 2015. It’s been that kind of weekend, with a spin in Friday’s first practice and laps consistently outside the top 10. He said the Team Penske machine has struggled to shift properly, among the reasons he will start a season-low 15th.
Local favorite James Hinchcliffe of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports fared only slightly better. He will start 14th. The confidence of the Toronto-area driver is lifted by finishes of third, third and fourth in the past four races here.
Another driver disappointed not to advance out of the first round was rookie Colton Herta, the winner of the Circuit of The Americas race in March. The Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver had qualified in the top five of the past four road/street circuits and in the top 10 of the past nine events overall, will start 16th on Sunday.
The 85-lap race will air on the NBC Sports Network and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
This story will be updated.