Will Power's hopes of regaining the Indycar series suffered a double blow in qualifying for the race in Edmonton, Canada.
But the Australian could at least take some comfort as series leader Ryan Hunter-Reay also copped a big setback.
Power, who trails American Hunter-Reay by 35 points with five races remaining, didn't get into the "fast six" final session that determines the top spots on the grid for the race on Sunday (Monday AEST).
The Queenslander's Penske team then said they would change out his engine - a decision which meant he must start the race from back in 17th on the grid.
Hunter-Reay, who clocked 1min 17.23sec around the 3.5 km, 13-turn circuit at Edmonton's City Centre Airport, was fastest in qualifying but a previous-incurred penalty meant defending series champion Dario Franchitti secured pole position and Australia's Ryan Briscoe was promoted to second spot alongside him.
Hunter-Reay was relegated to 11th on the grid because his Andretti team was serving a 10-place grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after the Toronto Indy two weeks ago.
IndyCar rules this season don't allow an engine to be changed until it has run 1850 miles (2975km).
"It's certainly unfortunate to be taking the grid penalty with our first pole this year - and my first pole in a long time - but we'll take it for sure," said Hunter-Reay, whose last pole position was in 2004.
Hunter-Reay goes into the race leading the season standings with 336 points.
Despite the penalty, he keeps the point for earning pole position, which gives him a handy lead ahead over Power.
The day's qualifying was complicated by the weather, with teams coping with a track that went from dry, to wet, to drying throughout the session.
"That session was white knuckle, I'll tell you that much," Hunter-Reay said.