Andretti wins pole for IndyCar's return to Pocono
Andretti set a Pocono Raceway track record with his two-lap average qualifying speed of 221.273 mph. The previous record was 211.715, set over one lap by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989. Marco is the third Andretti to win a pole here at Pocono, his grandfather Mario as well as his father Michael having set on pole in the 80s.
Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top-6 and gave Chevy a 1-2-3-4-5-6 sweep of the first two rows.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm definitely happy for the RC Cola guys and really Andretti Autosport as a whole,‚ÄĚ said Andretti, a Nazareth (PA) native. ‚ÄúWe have been making statement after statement, so, it‚Äôs a good feeling‚ÄĚ
In all, 21 cars set qualifying time faster than the previous track record of 211.715 mph, set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, the last time Indy cars race at ‚ÄúThe Tricky Triangle.‚ÄĚ Andretti Autosport drivers Andretti, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe were three of four drivers to top 220 mph during qualifying.
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs important for sure just to start up in the thick of it and really start off on the right foot,‚ÄĚ said Hunter-Reay, the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a long race. 400-miles around this place is going to be tough, it‚Äôs going to be grueling. Hopefully, the No. 1 DHL Chevy will be up front at the end putting ourselves in a position to win this thing.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMarco (Andretti) has been the class of the field, said Hinchcliffe, a three-time winner this year. ‚ÄúWe knew it was going to be tough to beat that. We just wanted to try to stay in contention and he gave me some useful tips after his run, just teammates working together. I had a little bit of a moment entering turn one the thing got a little loose on me. I was battling it around the race track. The wind conditions when you are running this light on downforce don‚Äôt help. Solid performance and hopefully that leaves us in the sharp end and hopefully a couple more Andretti Autosport cars can get up there too and we can start this show from the clean part of the track.
Two drivers crashed in Turn 1, Viso who we already mentioned who got loose going into the turn and Tagliani who understeered up into the wall on the exit of the turn.
Pocono has turned out to be perhaps the perhaps the hardest oval track on the schedule. It drives a bit like a road course.
"It is a very busy lap around this place," said Hunter-Reay. We downshift going into the corners, and upshift coming out. The wind shifts and all three corners are different so we are constantly playing with the weight jacker and the bars to keep the balance.
"This and Milwaukee are the busiest oval tracks we run."
"Congratulations to Marco Andretti for winning the pole position at Pocono Raceway today for tomorrow's 400 mile race,‚ÄĚ said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series.
‚ÄúThis is Marco's second pole of the season and is a continuation of the consistency he is demonstrating this year which shows in his current 3rd place position in the driver's points battle. Andretti Autosport secured the entire 3-wide front row for the start of the race tomorrow with Ryan Hunter-Reay alongside Marco and James Hinchcliffe beside Ryan.
"The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 will also power the second row for Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves. We are very proud of the effort and preparation that our teams and technical partners have put forth for the return of IndyCar racing to ‚ÄėThe Tricky Triangle‚Äô here at Pocono and look forward to a strong Team Chevy race result tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): ‚ÄúI always know my teammates are going to be strong. I got everything out of it. I knew I was going to be pleased with the result. In IndyCar racing these days, there are five guys who get it right. But I lucked out today. It all came together. It was going to be all about balance. We were really focusing on all details in practice.‚ÄĚ (About this track): ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs tremendous. I‚Äôve taken a huge liking to this place the second I rolled off here at the first test. I think this place was built for Indy cars, and vice-versa.‚ÄĚ (About race): ‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs going to be a little bit like Indianapolis, right place at right time, timing your passes. You really have to be smart. You have to be more than just alongside. You can‚Äôt go two-wide in Turn 2.‚ÄĚ (About being third member of family to win pole at Pocono): ‚ÄúIt means a lot to me. This is the first place where, besides Milwaukee, I was able to get a pole where they did. But tomorrow is the one we want. That would be icing on the cake. My first goal is tomorrow. I really want to get this monkey off my back. I want to get the wins coming. We need to close the gap, first and foremost, on the points lead.‚ÄĚ (Is there extra pressure because you‚Äôre on pole at home race?): ‚ÄúDefinitely, because if you look at my worst finish (this season), I swept that weekend until that point, too. We‚Äôre up to the task. We just need to execute.‚ÄĚ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): ‚ÄúIt was a great one for Andretti Autosport. It‚Äôs 400 miles. We got quailing out of the way. It‚Äôs going to be a long race. We have to go against Penske, Ganassi and, of course, a big challenge from teammates. After that we got going, we get to racing.‚ÄĚ (About Marco Andretti winning pole): ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs definitely good. This is Andretti‚Äôs backyard, with Marco on the pole. The three-wide start will look pretty cool.‚ÄĚ (About teamwork): ‚ÄúWe meet as a team. Andretti Autosport is really open that way. We go over everything from every session and what we‚Äôre going to do the next session. We‚Äôre constantly talking as a group about what we can do better. Each driver likes something different in a race car, and that‚Äôs where we go our own way.‚ÄĚ (About Turn 1): ‚ÄúTagliani crashed because he understeered into the gray. Viso got loose early in the corner. This place is tricky in general. This place is tough. It‚Äôs more thinking. You have to be so on top of your race tools in the car. As the wind shifts and changes, and you get into one car, two cars in traffic, the place is always changing. When you‚Äôre running, you‚Äôre changing gears. It‚Äôs a busy lap here. Short of Milwaukee, it‚Äôs the busiest lap. You‚Äôre moving things around, trying to keep up with the balance of the car.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been battling understeer in Turn 1 all week long and all week in testing. I told my engineer if we have to lift in Turn 1, we‚Äôre going to be slow. And then I was loose. I had a big moment in Turn 1 and had to lift. Andretti Autosport, 1-2-3, it‚Äôs incredible. It‚Äôs Pocono, Andretti on pole, Andretti Autosport on front row ‚Äď you couldn‚Äôt write a better story than that.‚ÄĚ (About importance of mechanical grip): ‚ÄúParamount. This place is tricky. It has earned its name. It‚Äôs not a marketing ploy. That‚Äôs an earned reputation. Trying to balance the setup with high banks of Turn 1 and flat of Turn 3 is incredibly difficult.‚ÄĚ
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco ‚ÄúTurbo‚ÄĚ KVRT-SH Racing): ‚ÄúIt was OK. Our first time out here. I‚Äôm impressed with the number of people out here today. They don‚Äôt call it The Tricky Triangle for nothing.‚ÄĚ (Going for pole?): ‚ÄúI was, and it didn‚Äôt stick. When I came here last week, and I did my first 20 laps, I said there‚Äôs no way we‚Äôre going flat in Turn 1 here. And obviously we did. It‚Äôs exciting.‚ÄĚ (About what it will take to beat Andretti Autosport): ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a 400-mile race. The Andretti guys were strong for the entire season. If you look at their Indy 500 effort, I don‚Äôt expect anything less. I don‚Äôt think I had anything for him today for pole. This race is a 400-mile race. I don‚Äôt think you can pick a favorite yet. They did a great job putting three cars in the top three. But it‚Äôs a 400-mile race.‚ÄĚ (About three-wide start): ‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs part of the Triple Crown thing. We only do it once per year. Being in a 400-mile race, I hope we respect each other. This straightaway, it‚Äôs longer than Indy. It‚Äôs wide. I don‚Äôt see a problem doing it. But it‚Äôs definitely going to be different. We can‚Äôt get greedy. We have to respect each other. It‚Äôs going to be difficult. My boss tells me all the time, that‚Äôs why I get paid the big bucks.‚ÄĚ (About loss of speed in qualifying lap): ‚ÄúI think I came up to speed too quick. My fault. The Sunoco car is pretty good this weekend, so we‚Äôre going for the Triple Crown. I‚Äôm excited to be here at Pocono; it‚Äôs my first time. It‚Äôs nice to see how many race car fans we have in this part of the world. I‚Äôm glad you guys are here, and we‚Äôll go for it tomorrow, for sure.‚ÄĚ
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): ‚ÄúThe car was pretty good. We spent a lot of time working on the race car and getting enough miles in so we could mileage-out the engine and put a fresh on in for warm-up tonight and the race tomorrow. Overall, I think we‚Äôre reasonably happy with our qualifying effort. The car slid a little bit, in Turn 3 on my first timed-lap, so I think that cost us a little speed heading into the second lap. We‚Äôll see where we end up in the starting lineup and have a good 400-mile race tomorrow.‚ÄĚ
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): ‚ÄúVery disappointing qualifying session on my side. I'm pretty sure we could have done a lot better, but we had a mechanical failure. The throttle sensor destroyed our run as soon as we left the pits. Now we need to focus putting together a fast race car and go from there. Tomorrow will be a long race, so we will see what we can do."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): ‚ÄúWe struggled a little bit generally to find the balance. It‚Äôs strange because when we came here for the test day, we were pretty happy, but obviously with the track temperature and the air temperature creeping up, it‚Äôs changed the car. We will work on the race car in the final practice, and hopefully that will put us in good shape for tomorrow. This morning Turn 3 was giving us trouble, but in qualifying it was Turn 1, but that‚Äôs the nature of this place. I guess that‚Äôs why they call it The Tricky Triangle, because it‚Äôs always changing and it‚Äôs fun to be out there with the three different corners. No corner is the same, so trying to get the car sorted out for all three is pretty tough.‚ÄĚ
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): ‚ÄúI‚Äôm proud of our Midas guys; they‚Äôve been working awfully hard. Handling-wise, we made a lot of gains. To be honest, I thought the balance in qualifying was pretty good, but we hit the hard limiter on the front straight, which all but ends your run, and unfortunately that killed our first lap. I think we probably could have run a mid-18 (second lap) if that had happened, but unfortunately we didn‚Äôt. Our race car is pretty good, but our qualifying car seemed to be our weakness here. But we will go out there and pound around tomorrow and hopefully make up some spots. It‚Äôs going to be tough to pass here tomorrow with the aerodynamic setup that we have and with the tire grip that we have available to us.‚ÄĚ
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): ‚ÄúIt was a really good qualifying effort for us. I think we might have had a little bit more, but we can be pretty happy, especially when I look at where we started this weekend. We‚Äôve been struggling on the ovals, especially the last two races, but so far the car‚Äôs been awesome. I‚Äôm pretty happy; the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car has been pretty quick. It‚Äôs been a lot of hard work, but we took it step-by-step. Huge thanks to the team for that. We‚Äôve really leaned on Tony (Kanaan) and tried to learn as much as possible because he‚Äôs really fast around here. I think we have a really strong race car, so hopefully we should be OK in the race. We‚Äôre toward the front, which is where we were hoping for. We should be able to go forward from there.‚ÄĚ
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): ‚ÄúWe qualified close enough up to the front that we should be able to move up throughout the race and not fall too far behind. Passing may be difficult here, but we'll know for sure tomorrow. There's one-and-a-half grooves here at Pocono so you can try the outside of the middle groove and be aggressive, but we'll just have to see how much luck guys have doing that. My car has great balance, and I feel confident that we'll have a car that can climb through the pack tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy‚Äôs Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): ‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt a good day for us. We have a lot better car than where we just qualified. We have a lot of work to do now. And it will be hard. That‚Äôs because it is hard to pass here. I am disappointed, to say the least. It will be challenging for the race. Just like Indianapolis, track position will be very important. We just didn‚Äôt have enough grip to get through the corners the way I wanted. I will have to work on getting a good start to make up some spots early. This place is tricky , just like the nickname says. With three different turns, it takes a balancing act to get the car as good as possible. We will analyze our data from today and get a good game plan for the race.‚ÄĚ
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Energizer Honda): ‚ÄúWe had really good balance with the Energizer car here in Pocono today. We‚Äôre close to the same aerodynamic setup as Scott (Dixon) with the car, but just 3 miles per hour slower for whatever reason. We‚Äôre obviously asking Honda why that is right now, and I‚Äôm pretty frustrated with that right now. I‚Äôm just trying to work as hard as I can. The Target team is working as hard as ever, too, and my frustration doesn‚Äôt lie with them. It‚Äôs been pretty tough.‚ÄĚ
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): ‚ÄúI think that qualifying run was about what we thought it would be, which was a few miles per hour off of the Chevrolet. The other manufacturer is fast, but we have a good car, and I love the balance of it. We‚Äôre trimmed as much as we can be and we just put in the latest Honda engine. I can feel some difference in it but not enough to be where we need to be right now. This is such a cool place here in Pocono, and I really love driving this track. The fans are amazing, and I‚Äôm looking forward to a competitive event tomorrow. I hope we put on a great show for all these people.‚ÄĚ
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ‚ÄúVery satisfied with what we achieved. There was almost nothing left, so the engineers and boys did a great job to put it all together considering we only had one qualifying sim in practice and a relatively short preparation time for the new track. I enjoyed the lap. It was a very busy lap because here Turn 1 and Turn 3 is so different balance you get, so you use the tools in to the maximum. So you get a lot of great feeling when you‚Äôre done. I‚Äôm really looking forward to the race.‚ÄĚ
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): ‚ÄúWe are pretty happy on our qualifying after a bad morning practice session. We didn't feel comfortable trimming the car out, so we just stayed where we knew we would stay flat for the two qualifying laps. We knew it was not going to put us in the top five, but at least it‚Äôs a decent qualifying. Now we can try to make the car a little better for the race, and we will see what we can get.‚ÄĚ
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 coastal.com Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): ‚ÄúBeing back at a superspeedway here in Pocono feels like being back at Indy, and I still have a lot to catch up on. It was so helpful to have a full test day here in Pocono to prepare for this race, though. This is a tricky place because it feels like you're on two different tracks with how different these turns are. We got a decent run in though for qualifications, and now we have to put our heads together and make sure we have a strong race tomorrow.‚ÄĚ
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): ‚ÄúIt was a good job by the Verizon team in qualifying. I think our setup was spot on, and we were looking good on the first lap. And I thought we had a chance at pole, but then we had overboost going into Turn 1 on the second lap, and the penalty for that was big and it cost us our chance. Still, qualifying in row two is a good place to be. I like this track here at Pocono; it‚Äôs pretty challenging. I think it‚Äôs going to be a good race tomorrow. It‚Äôs a very long race, and you can definitely pass at this place, so it should be really fun to watch.‚ÄĚ
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): ‚ÄúFirst of all, I have to say thanks to the fans for coming out and supporting us. It was great to see so many enthusiastic people here today, and they‚Äôre really excited about IndyCar. Good job by the promoters and everyone here at Pocono Raceway. Now, qualifying sixth is pretty good for the Hitachi Team Penske car. Maybe we were a little too conservative in our qualifying setup, but that‚Äôs OK. I know the car has been very fast and very smooth all weekend, and I think we will be strong for the race. This track is very interesting, and it‚Äôs going to be pretty exciting starting three-wide on Sunday. We‚Äôre looking forward to a good race and hopefully a strong finish in the Hitachi Chevrolet.‚ÄĚ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 SFH Racing/Rotondo Weirich Honda): ‚ÄúPocono is definitely a tricky one. I think we‚Äôve laid a good foundation for all the testing that we‚Äôve done. We‚Äôve learned a lot around this place, and I think we understand what we want in the race. We just have to keep a cool head, and I think we can definitely come out of here with a great result.‚ÄĚ
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