Will Power wins pole for Toyota GP of Long Beach
Will Power continued his domination of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar World Series by taking pole position for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with the fastest time of the weekend at 1m09.3185s in his Verizon Dallara-Honda. It was Power's third consecutive IndyCar pole.
"Our aim was to get through the first session on blacks (Firestone primary tires), then in the second session to save a set of reds for the Firestone Fast Six, which we did," said Power.
"It was pretty straightforward from there. We had the speed and put a real neat lap together, and we're starting up front again. The Firestone reds were really hooked up today and the blacks are really durable. It's a really nice tire."
Fast man on Friday, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Motorsports, will start 2nd on Sunday, his best ever IndyCar start, and Justin Wilson 3rd for Dreyer & Reinbold, a clean sweep for ex-Champ Car drivers.
"I’m really happy with the Z-Line Designs car qualifying third in the Firestone Fast Six today,” said Wilson. “It’s probably the best car I have ever driven in Long Beach, including my pole position in 2008. I don’t think I could have found another four tenths around here today, but I gave it my best shot. I’m really looking forward to the race as starting position is key here.”
Dreyer & Reinbold was always an underdog team but this year with Wilson and Mike Conway behind the wheel the team has made a major step forward. We asked Wilson why that was.
"It's a lot of small changes in the team and if we can do this for another year the continuity will help us compete for wins on a regular basis."
Power's Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top-5 giving Penske Racing their first Fast-6 session with all three drivers.
Conspicuously absent from the Fast-6 were Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti (last year's winner) and Scott Dixon, which shows just how competitive IndyCar is now that they merged with Champ Car.
Tony Kanaan went down the runoff area twice during qualifying but it wasn't because he had a brake problem.
"No, it was just a matter of trying too hard because the field is so competitive. You cannot make a single mistake out there. When I knew I wasn't going to make the corner I chose to roll through the runoff area rather than flat spot the tires. The tires were still good so why flat spot them and ruin them," which shows what experience will do for you.
"This is also a very tough circuit. The timing line is just off the final corner and when I dive into the pits and pull into my pitbox I tell my engineer to give me 20 seconds to catch my breath," said Kanaan.
For Power the difference between last year and this year comes down to getting the car right for him.
"Last year I was a part-time driver for Team Penske and I just drove the car and didn't ask to change anything, but this year I have worked with my engineers to get the car the way I like to drive it and that has made all the difference in the world."
And don't think that has not gone unnoticed with the other drivers.
"Every day we wake up thinking about how we can beat Will. He is with a very good team but obviously he is a very good driver."
Milka Duno, out to lunch all weekend, did not attempt to qualify.
Tomorrow's race is broadcast live on Versus at 4:30 PM Eastern Time.
Fast-6 after round 2 eliminations
Rank No Name Best Lap Time
Top-12 after round 1 eliminations
3 Helio Castroneves
WILL POWER (No.12 Verizon Team Penske, pole): "We certainly have the car figured out, and I'm very happy that the Verizon car is P1 again. We've got to get the strategy right this weekend. I know sometimes it's really hard to read, but we need to keep executing in races." (How important is it to get through first session with black tires, saving a set of reds for the Firestone Fast Six?): "that's important. It gives you a good chance to get the pole. If you're quick enough, you have to do it. You've got to take the risk to get through on the blacks. The blacks take longer to come on, but actually they're pretty quick. They're good." (What's the key to your success at Long Beach?): "I think the key to success is starting up front. I think getting the yellow. You've got to get the lucky yellow. You can be out front leading and bam, get caught by a yellow. You could see it last weekend. Strategy can screw you, but it also can go your way. So we've got to read that well tomorrow."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, 11th): "In the first round, we used two sets of red Firestone option tires, and at one point we looked very strong. The Formula Dream/Panasonic car was good; we improved a lot from practice to qualifying. I gained almost one second. The second round seemed tough because we had already used the two reds in the first run, so we only had used reds for Round 2 so that's why we couldn't go any faster. We know we have speed, so maybe next time we can use black and red tires in the first round and two sets of reds in the second. The team did a fantastic job. I'm pretty happy."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, 10th): "It was a really good team effort by everybody in the National Guard Panther Racing crew. We tried a lot of different things in all three practice sessions leading up to qualifying, and we managed to take all the good things from each one. I don't want to be greedy, but if I would have saved a set of the Firestone red tires, we probably could have run in the Top Six because I was feeling extremely confident in the No. 4 car."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon, 18th): "There's no question this hurts us because it's difficult to pass here, so track position is very important. The car just didn't have the balance or the grip to push and move forward. We thought we had a good idea of how we would be after practice this morning, and even though we did improve, it wasn't enough to advance. We're all disappointed, but we'll just have to regroup and come up with a strategy to compete tomorrow."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB, 24th): "It was not the best qualification for us. We lost half a second from the previous practice, and we are not sure why. We are really struggling with the brakes on the car, and the front wheel is locking a lot. We need to work hard because this will not work for the race."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing, 23rd): "I think more than ever we are seeing how important the details are. We definitely improved compared to the previous session, but because the cars are all running so closely I am only starting 23rd. Qualifying is over, so we have to start focusing on tomorrow's race. Now it's up to us to look at the small details, seeing where we can improve to find these tenths that we are still missing. We will fine-tune the car overnight, using the warm-up session tomorrow to test the changes."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing, 22nd): "It's again been a very frustrating day, and I think that pretty well caps it off. Never have I ever been the slowest one in qualifying in my entire career. It's pretty frustrating; we just can't seem to get the car to react to any changes that we make. We've tried everything; there's no lack of effort. It's quite simply the fact that overall we just can't get the car right, which leads us to question a lot of things. It's been a frustrating day, but I hope we can have a good strategy and try to get at least halfway up the field tomorrow. You never know what can happen. Stranger things have happened than people winning from the back, so we'll see tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt Racing, 14th): "It's bittersweet. It is our best qualifying run so far, but it's still not where we want to be. But at least we can be on the same strategy as the leaders and the ABC Supply car is very good on the long run, so I'm very encouraged for the race."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, seventh): "I'm so very proud of the FAZZT Race Team. They are just doing a fantastic job. We are right there every time we go out, and today just shows how incredibly competitive the IZOD IndyCar Series is to be only half a tenth out of the Fast Six. It's just amazing. And I have to say, I'm just very happy with what we are doing this year. I couldn't be happier with the guys, the team, everything has just been really amazing. For tomorrow's race, this track is really challenging, and it changes quite a bit from practice to qualifying to the race, so you can't really go overboard and be too worried about your car. I think you have to let the track come to you, but it also has a lot of different corners, like very slow corners on concrete and then fast corners, so you need stability. So basically, it can be very difficult to find the compromise on this track, but I think we are very close and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
E.J. VISO (No. PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT, 17th): "It has definitely been a very difficult weekend for the PDVSA - KV Racing Technology team. We have been working on some things and managed to get find some more speed for qualifying. But we are still lacking grip, which is what we are working on tonight. I am sure after talking with my engineers we will have a better car for the tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology, 19th): "It was a very tough and disappointing day. We tried many different things since yesterday, but unfortunately the car just isn't working well. We changed the car quite a bit for qualifying, but we still need to find more grip. We will review and analyze everything overnight for tomorrow."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology, 15th): "Qualifying for the KV Racing Technology team was definitely not what we were looking for. We were hoping to get into the top 12. I was working hard with my engineer, and we had a problem with the car, which we shall fix tonight. We proved in morning practice that we have a good setup for the race, so I am looking forward to that tomorrow."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, fifth): "I'm extremely happy. It's our first Fast Six of the year. I knew coming into Long Beach that I had to step it up in qualifying, and I think we really did that today. We're making the car better in the Fast Six, but the tires are just getting older and older, and I wasn't able to improve my time. Will got through without using an extra set of reds and had a sticker set at the end, which gave him a big advantage. But we're right there, and we've got ourselves into good position to win the race on Sunday."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 16th): "We improved the TranSystems car from yesterday, but we are still not quite there. We will work on it during the warm-up to see if we can get it better again."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, sixth): "I was trying … trying too hard. When the field is that close, you just have to get the max out of it. So it wasn't really a problem. I was just trying to get my measurement for my fastest lap."
Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to our forums to discuss this article