Will Power's to IndyCar pole at Barber
Power posted a best lap of 1 minute, 11.4546 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn natural-terrain course in the Firestone Fast Six. Teammate Ryan Briscoe (1:11:7361) will join him on the front row for the 90-lap race.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (1:11:8826) and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (1:12:1247), the defending race winner, will occupy Row 2. Justin Wilson (1:12:3085), who is driving with an injured wrist, and Oriol Servia (1:12:4394), in his first start at Barber, will share Row 3.
Penske's Helio Castroneves, the defending race winner, qualified fourth, while Justin Wilson from Dreyer and Reinbold took the fifth spot and Oriol Servia placed his Newman/Haas Racing car in the sixth position.
Reigning series champion and St. Pete race winner Dario Franchitti barely missed advancing to the fast six round. The Ganassi driver came up 0.0016 seconds short and therefore settled for seventh on the grid.
Newman/Haas' James Hinchcliffe looks impressive in his IndyCar debut so far by grabbing the eighth spot.
Marco Andretti was the only Andretti Autosport driver to qualify in the top-10. Andretti will start ninth. Graham Rahal from Ganassi will roll off one spot behind him in 10th.
Andretti's Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick qualified 16th, 17th and 22nd, respectively.
Sunday's 90-lap race at Barber is scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m. (et).
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): It was very tiring but we saved it until the end and put a good lap together. I'm happy to have the No. 12 Verizon car up front again. It's really important to start from the front at this track. I feel we should have won the race last year with the speed we had, so we're pretty focused on the strategy.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental, qualified second): "Well, at least I was beaten by the guy who no one seems to be able to beat in qualifying. The car is feeling great this weekend; we really unloaded strong and we've been right up there in every practice session. Wish we could have gotten the pole, but we got the front row. It's going to be a long race and I'm looking forward to it because I need to get some points back from St. Petersburg."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "At the end of the (Firestone Fast Six) on the second run tires the car was so loose I couldn't get into the corner. The weather conditions can play havoc on the way the car handles, which we saw yesterday after the rain, so we'll have to keep an eye on that and hopefully have good balance."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske, qualified fourth): "We were in between sixth and seventh position in practice because we were having some difficulty with the balance. Last night we were able to make several changes for qualifying. Ron Ruzewski, my engineer, and I kept working on making the car better for today. It wasn't the ultimate result but I can't complain because we are starting in fourth position here. Last year, we were able to win from third position so I hope to repeat that tomorrow. I am quite happy with the AAA Insurance Team Penske car especially after the first race in St. Pete. It is great to be here and in Long Beach with these colors. I looked up at the monitor and thought to myself that there was a good looking car on the track and then I realized it was me. It was different to see new colors, but it is great to have a new partnership and I can't wait to put the AAA Insurance car in victory circle."
JUSTIN WILSON: (No. 22 Charter Media/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified fifth): "I think we had a pretty good day. We started the morning out in eleventh and twelfth position and then the Dreyer & Reinbold team did a great job with qualifying set up. The car felt pretty good this morning and then we made a few adjustments for qualifying and it was great to get into the Firestone Fast Six. I am hoping to have a good day tomorrow in the Charter Media car. I know that the competition will be tight and we will have Oriol Servia right behind us so it will make for a good race. My wrist is feeling uncomfortable, but I know that I have to fight through it."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing, qualified sixth): "It feels great to be here in the Firestone Fast Six. It was frustrating in St. Petersburg when I was knocked out after the first round and I felt like I had only started. It feels great to have the opportunity to go for the pole at the end. We don't quite have what it takes to make the Team Penske guys nervous yet, but we are working our way there. I am very happy for Newman/Haas Racing and all the hard work they have put in this week. Now we have a great teammate with James Hinchcliffe and a wonderful sponsor with Telemundo so I am looking forward to the rest of the season."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Clorox, qualified seventh): "Very disappointed. I talked about this before the session. We gave up a tenth in the hairpin. We thought we'd have another lap but we had a little miscommunication and we didn't get another run at it. We need to figure out a way to get up to the front from seventh, but if anyone can do it its the Target team."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing, qualified eighth): "It's one of those things where you say, 'Man, I'm only a tenth (of a second) out of the fast six. I could have been there.' But then you say 'It's my first race and I'm only a tenth out of the fast six.' We are super-happy with how the session went for the Sprott team and we are really happy that Oriol made it into the Firestone Fast Six. It's one of those things that says a lot about the cars that Newman/Haas Racing brought here. We didn't unload great and we have done a lot of work and the cars have gotten really good so the team deserves a lot of credit. For me it was just a matter of getting used to the red Firestone alternate tires. It's a big difference and that is the first time I have ever had a chance to drive on them. I was really lucky that we got out of that first group and got a second change to give it a go in Round 2. I'm very happy that the Sprott car is starting in the top-10 for the race tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, qualified ninth): "We got what we could get from the car and that is where it put us today. We have to be better than that tomorrow if we want to make anything happen. We're off where we need to be right now and we've got to find it pretty quick."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, qualified 10th): "We're happy with a top-10 qualifying run for the No. 38 Service Central car. The car is great. Coming out of practice in p4, we thought we'd have a better qualifying run but we'll just have to work on our race strategy and pass some cars tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. KV RACING Technology - Lotus, qualified 11th): "It was a disappointing qualifying. We tried to improve the car and indeed we were improving, but looking at the field we didn't have enough speed. It is a real shame we could not achieve what we wanted. I tried everything I could, but we struggled a lot. We are going to have to work really hard to get everything together for the race tomorrow."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified 12th): "We had a pretty good session this morning on the blacks (Firestone tire). We are fighting a lot of entry oversteer in the car. We put on the reds (Firestone tire) thinking there would be a lot of understeer. The car was quite loose at the beginning of the qualifying session, so we were not able to get a good lap out of it. I'm disappointed about that. We tried to make up a bunch by changing the car during the break, and we didn't improve it. We stayed where we were, and it was not enough to move up. We'll just try to fight our way through again in the race and try to finish in the top 6 and keep scoring points for the championship."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy HVM Racing, qualified 13th): "Qualifying was a little bit disappointing because our group was pretty tough, but I think we were really good. It was definitely close, but we got caught a little bit in traffic on our good laps. That seems to be the case almost every time. But I think we'll be alright starting 13th, and I'm sure that we're going to have a consistent race car and a good race tomorrow."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified 18th): "It's been a tough couple of days for the team, but we have lots of faith that we will have a good race tomorrow. The crew, once again, did a great job preparing the car for the qualifying, but we needed another 1.9 tenths of a second to make it into the second round of qualifying. This is a challenging track with a mix of fast and slow corners and a lot of quick changes in direction so finding the right setup is a compromise. You have to give up some speed in some places to gain it in others.
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog Flex Pen): "I learned a lot in this qualifying session. Still learning on reds and trying to maximize tires as much as possible. It's very competitive, we're all really tight; you have to be on it at all times. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing will have a good car for the race tomorrow."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Window World Cares): "We're just trying to find speed and haven't gotten there yet. We never got the car how we wanted it. I'm disappointed, really. We all seem to be struggling. Marco showed a bit more speed, so we'll see what we can learn from him and go from there.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "We're just not getting the grip out of the 'red' tires that we need, that everyone else is getting. We need to look at our overall balance and setup is. Now, we're going to be going into Sunday changing everything and that's not ideal for us at all. We came here trying some pretty radical stuff that didn't work for us and now we're playing catch-up because of it. But, we're up as a team and down as a team, and tomorrow is the only day that counts this weekend. We've got every expectation to still get a good result tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "Today's qualifying run wasn't the result we were looking for. We'll have to play it smart and work our way through the field to have a successful race for the GoDaddy.com car. Hopefully there will be some opportunities for us to make some advances in the field. We'll just have to play it safe and work hard tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "Qualifying didn't go as we expected after the test days we had here--and I'm just comparing to ourselves, not the others. We tried to improve but it didn't go the way we wanted but that's going to happen during the year. It's not the first time and it won't be the last. What counts is that we learn from it and improve and we did improve the ABC Supply car from the last practice to qualifying—just not enough. We'll be okay race day; I hope there's a lot of 'changes' on the starts and on strategy so we can take advantage of those."
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