Tagliani makes it two IndyCar oval poles in a row
It's the second consecutive pole for Tagliani, driving the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He started from the point in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 29 in the first oval race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Reigning series champion Dario Franchitti (214.801) will start second for the second consecutive year.
Will Power, who started from the pole in each of the four road/street courses, will start third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. He'll be joined in Row 2 by Takuma Sato, driver of the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car who starts a career-high fourth on an oval. He was the final qualifier (214.470).
"It was a good run out there Verizon car," Power said. "I was flat and on the white line for both laps. We have some work to do tonight in practice to find a good race trim, but we should be good. We get two shots at it tomorrow and I'm definitely ready to race."
• This is Alex Tagliani's second pole of 2011 and the seventh pole of his Indy car career. He also won the pole for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 in May.
• This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' third pole position in the IZOD IndyCar Series and its first pole at Texas Motor Speedway. Its previous best start was 15th in June 2002 with Richie Hearn.
• Dario Franchitti qualified second, his second front row start of 2011 and his fourth front row start at Texas.
• Will Power qualified third. He has qualified in the top five in every race this season
• Takuma Sato qualified fourth, his best starting position of 2011 and his best qualifying position on an oval.
• Ed Carpenter qualified fifth, his best qualifying position at Texas.
• Wade Cunningham qualified eighth for his IZOD IndyCar Series debut.
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Schmidt Pelfrey Racing, PEAK Pole Award winner): "I told Will (Power) I was coming for him." (About winning back-to-back poles) "That means tomorrow night I'll draw the pole (for Race #2) ,right? It's a tribute to how much effort and how much love the guys put in the car. I watched them work the last two weeks and they worked harder than when they brought the car to Indianapolis. That's what a team does. We're going to continue to work hard and bring fast cars to the track. Being fast on an oval is great, but I won't be happy until I can stick it to Will (Power) and the Penske cars on a road course that's my next goal."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, qualified third): "It was a good run out there in the Verizon car. I was flat and on the white line for both laps. We have some work to do tonight in practice to find a good race trim, but we should be good. We get two shots at it tomorrow and I'm definitely ready to race."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified fourth):"It was fantastic, very exciting. The car was balanced and really felt good. After morning practice we were confident that we could have a good qualifying and after watching TK's (Tony Kanaan's) run I was even more confident. Now we really need to concentrate on getting a good car for the race which is a very different car from qualifying."
ED CARPENTER (No. 67 Dollar General Sarah Fisher Racing, qualified fifth): "It's been a good day for the Dollar General team. I feel good about our car. We seem to have good speed. I wasn't sure where we were going to end up, but it seems like everyone ran quicker during qualifying than we did in practice. I'm happy with our qualifying effort, but I always want to be faster. Either way we have a good starting spot for tomorrow night, and I think we have something for them."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified sixth): "Good qualifying run, I think that the GEICO-KVRT-Lotus guys did a great job. I mean, qualifying doesn't matter a lot here, but it's definitely nice to back at the front again. Now we've gotta work for the race. Race one is going to be very interesting, and race two we really don't know what to expect. Overall, two cars in the top six and I'm sitting a lot better than I have in the past…now we've got to move forward."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified seventh): "Our two qualifying laps were a bit faster than I expected. It should be exciting tomorrow and the two twin races should be exciting to watch. You always have to make quick decisions here and it should be a great show for everyone tuning in."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 99 Creatherm Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified eighth): "For us, it's just about sticking to the basics. An hour of practice before qualifying isn't a lot. I hadn't been to this track since 2005 in (Firestone Indy) Lights, and this is my first weekend in an Indy car. So we were just keeping it simple by doing the basics. We went out and did a lot of race running in the first session with a high down-force package. So, we didn't get to do any practice in a qualifying package." (About his qualifying run): "We bolted new tires on and tried to adjust the balance a little bit. Time is quite tight in the session, so we didn't have time to do everything we wanted. So really for us going into qualifying was like a bit of the unknown. We have a teammate who is on pole, and we knew what they were doing. But again, we didn't want to make any hiccups that would penalize ourselves by making mistakes. We didn't go as far as Alex did in qualifying set-up. So there's a little bit of speed there and, also, I made a little mistake on my gearing entering the green flag which cost us a bit of time as well."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 GuidePoint Systems Team Penske, qualified ninth): "The GuidePoint Systems car felt good out there. I think maybe we went a little too long in our gear ratio and that may have cost us a little bit in qualifying. I think we'll be in good shape for the race. We've still got a little work to do in practice tonight to get the car consistent and where we want it for tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK: (No. 7 Team GoDaddy, qualified 10th): "I think the GoDaddy.com car had a solid qualifying run. It was faster in qualifying than it did in practice which is great. We went into qualifying hoping for a top-10 start which we accomplished. We did the best we could and the car was comfortable, and I think that is really important at this track since there is so much banking. I think we are in a good position headed into tomorrow's first race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske): "Our qualifying result was a little frustrating, to be honest. We certainly thought we were capable of getting a top-five starting spot, but we'll keep working and make sure the AAA Insurance car is ready for the twin races tomorrow night. We'll keep our heads up and I know we'll be ready to go and put on a good show for the fans here in Texas."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "It was a good qualifying attempt on our first superspeedway. The No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car was pretty good and the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew did a really good job getting me ready for it. This is our best starting position so far for the season and that's what we were shooting for. If we had a little more track time, I think we would've been further up the order. The Novo Nordisk team has some more work to do during tonight's practice session. We should be good to go for the Firestone Twin 275s tomorrow night."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "It was a pretty frustrating qualifying run for the Service Central team. I thought we were going to be really good here. The car felt great in qualifying, it's just slow and I don't know the answer to that. It's frustrating but certainly it happens. We're going to keep working on the No. 38 Service Central car and figure out the issue so we're ready to pass some cars tomorrow night."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Sun Drop/DHL/Snapple): "Of course qualifying is important, but if you have a good race car compared to a car not qualified near the front, you can outdo it within 20 laps here. The trick is getting the race car properly balanced. We'll be working on that tonight. We're trying some pretty radical stuff after Indy, so we'll see how it goes with the DHL/Sun Drop car."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Hire Heroes USA/Dr Pepper/7-Eleven/DHL): "We could have had a little bit more speed for qualifying. But as long as we get a good car for this afternoon's practice, hopefully that will give us a good car for the races tomorrow. I think we'll be in a good position to move up to the top-ten in the first race. It should be an exciting first race for the Hire Heroes car, and it will be interesting to see where we end up on the drawing for the second."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom): "Obviously not the qualifying result we wanted today for the Venom car, but we've always run well in the race here and that's what we're planning to do tomorrow night."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "We were pretty good. I was trying to get everything I could in the National Guard car because we didn't work too much on the qualifying setup today in practice. But we've got a fast racecar and we're looking alright going into tomorrow. It's going to be a little bit of a different gig running the two shorter races tomorrow, but we'll see what we get when it comes down to race day." (About the knee injury) It's fine. I'm not having any trouble getting in and out of the car, so it's not going to be an issue."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified 19th): "I am not happy with qualifying 19th but to be honest this is one of the tracks where qualifying worries me the least. In the past, I have started at the back and made my way through the field and this is a pretty fun track to try and do that again. We will try and stay out of trouble during the race and hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow night."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "We came here thinking we might be reasonably fast since we were at Indy but then were slower in practice. Then we qualified faster than we thought we were going to be so I'm very happy. The Telemundo car was better in qualifying than in practice which is the same in Indy and we ran well in both qualifying and the race so let's push for that here too. It doesn't really matter too much where you start here because you can win the race from last place but it's better to be up front to avoid some of the things that can happen in the back."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "Qualifying went better than expected for the Sprott team. We were a little concerned with our pace in practice and we're not quite sure where the pace came from either. To be honest, we weren't quite geared for the speed we went so there is probably a little bit more in it. At the end of the day, for the Newman/Haas guys to turn the car around after practice and give us a good qualifying car that set a solid qualifying time is great, especially since this place is the least critical for qualifying. The big thing now is to take this next practice and try to get a good race car because we have a very unique event coming up tomorrow and you want to be good over two races."
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