Dixon nips Power for IndyCar pole in Baltimore
Scott Dixon saved his best for last as he grabbed the pole position for Sunday's Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar race on his last lap with a time of 1m18.0838s on the 2.04-mile street circuit in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.
It was Dixon's 20th career IndyCar pole and second of 2013.
Power’s lap of 1:18.1171 around the 12-turn, two-mile street circuit in Baltimore’s inner harbor led the Firestone Fast Six session until rival Scott Dixon recorded a lap of 1:18.0838 to take over the top spot.
Power was still on track in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine and he had another chance to top Dixon’s lap, but he wasn’t able to post a faster time as his bid fell short to win a third consecutive pole at Baltimore.. However, he maintained the second spot and will start alongside Dixon when the green flag waves to begin Sunday’s race.
"It was a tough qualifying, man, but we gave it everything we had in the Verizon Team Penske Chevy,” Power said. “Our chance to get pole really came the lap before our final lap but we just couldn't get there.”
Recording its strongest qualifying effort of 2013, the Sam Schmidt Motorsports operation claimed two of the top six starting positions, with Simon Pagenaud third in his Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports machine - his best qualifying result this year - and rookie teammate Tristan Vautier escaping from a minor collision at the end of second-round qualifying to make his fourth "Fast Six" appearance of the season in the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Dallara.
Veteran Justin Wilson will start from the second row, fourth, in his best qualifying performance of the yeah. Josef Newgarden was another Honda driver to produce his best qualifying run of 2013, and will start fifth for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Graham Rahal crashed in the second round and was penalized his two quickest lap times for bringing out the red flag, preventing him from advancing to the Fast Six. Rahal has been cleared to drive and will start 12th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The Baltimore circuit continues to give the drivers fits. It's bumpy, it's hard on brakes and the chicane has damaged more than just egos as driver after driver gets it all wrong. But the drivers admit the chicane is a place where you can make up time if you get it right.
Josef Newgarden is one driver who has the chicane figured out. "I am up here (in top six) because of the chicane. I go barreling right through it hardly slowing down." Was that a challenge to the other drivers?
One driver who continues to show he belongs is Luca Filippi. Filippi and the Barracuda Racing team earned a 14th place spot on the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT.
The Italian driver is making his return to IndyCar on the streets of Baltimore after a solid debut at Mid-Ohio in early August.
The Barracuda Racing team made improvements throughout the three practices of the race weekend, bettering their session result and lap time with each outing.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying time of 1:19.1242 puts the Barracuda Racing team in P14 for the 75-lap competition around the 12-turn, 2.04-mile temporary street circuit. Not bad for a rookie in just his 2nd IndyCar race.
Sunday's 75-lap race, the 16th round in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: "It was a tough qualifying man, but we gave it everything we had in the Verizon Team Penske Chevy. Our chance to get pole really came the lap before our final lap but we just couldn't get there. It should be a good race tomorrow. With the chicanes, especially, there could be a lot of action and I expect it will be another good battle."
ON HIS PREVIOUS SUCCESS AT BALTIMORE: “It’s a cool track. It would obviously be nice if we didn’t have to use the chicane there, but these street courses are bumpy, and it is just a part of the game. I think it is good for racing, and there will be a lot of mayhem, hopefully behind me, tomorrow. (LAUGHS)”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PPG AUTOMOTIVE FINISHES TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: "In qualifying today, it's one of those deals where on the odds you're thinking to wait a little bit and it might pay off because the track might be better. Unfortunately, it didn't pay off for us as the red flag came out and ended the second qualifying a little early. The PPG Team Penske boys will keep working and move forward so we can get that Chevy to the front in tomorrow's race."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH: “Same thing as last year – almost the same exact circumstances; (Graham) Rahal put it into the wall and we didn’t get a lap time in that was capable of carrying us onto the next round. It’s part of it – it’s part of street course racing. I think we could have advanced to the (Firestone) Fast Six had we nailed everything today, but we’re just off a little too much at the moment. We’re going to go back, work on it and hopefully get a good race car under us. We’re starting better than we did last year so you have to look at the positives… and maybe hope for rain.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11TH: “It’s obviously really tricky right now. The track here is always a challenge with the bumps and the chicane still catching a couple people out, myself included over the weekend. You know, I feel bad; the GoDaddy guys have done a good job. We had a much stronger car in place. I was on a lap, which, I’m sure, everyone was on a lap sorta thing. But we were four turns in and already a quarter of a second up… would it have been (Firestone) Fast Six? I don’t know. Obviously there are a lot of strong cars out there. Certainly we didn’t want to back on the sixth row, but the car’s good; we definitely improved it over the weekend. It’s consistent which will be important in the race tomorrow, so I think we can do some damage from here.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY - SH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 16TH: “We definitely are faster than we showed in qualifying. First we had a red flag and then I got held up by traffic and couldn’t get a clean lap when I needed it. No excuses. It is the same for everyone out there. It is just disappointing. We will start in the back half of the grid again, but I think we have a good race car. We just have to make up positions during the race like we did last weekend in Sonoma.”
RAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 blu eCigs Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to complete qualifying but what I’m more disappointed with is the fact that the session didn’t go red. I don’t care if people hadn’t finished their lap or not; it was an unsafe situation to stay green and ultimately I got hit -- again. Luckily I saw him because I was watching the mirror and waiting for someone to do it. I was looking to my right and saw that they were waving the green flag. I was looking in the mirror and saw him coming to hit me. I’m alright. The steering wheel spun and I let go and the steering wheel spun around and hit me in the wrist. I’ll be alright. We had been fourth at the time and lost our two fastest laps. I didn’t feel that my fast lap was that good but I also feel that I was struggling for grip. The lap I crashed on, I was already up almost a tenth.”
JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I think a tenth (of a second) would have put us comfortably in the top-six to progress to Round 2 which is a shame but that’s the way it is. We just didn’t get enough laps complete this morning. We lost the rhythm (during qualifying) when we were behind Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and I really think that if we hadn’t had that happen we would have gotten through to the next round. We have a 10 place penalty anyway and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow so I think we can do well. I’ve always gone well here in the rain in the past so we just have to be patient tomorrow and try to get the job done.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 17TH: “I’m confident for tomorrow because we’ve got the best car that we’ve had all year. We’ve been near the top six nearly every session and we just didn’t have our best effort in qualifying unfortunately. We just missed it by a little. But the truth is we were in a tough group; the same lap time would have put me P4 in the other session. But qualifying is the first time you put on the red tires and that always changes the balance a little and if you’re able to do the first transfer you can always tweak it and be strong in the next round. The National Guard Chevy was good, but we just didn’t have enough. We can still have a great race starting in 17th, especially here where there are always a lot of things that happen during the race with yellow flags and restarts. I just wanted to qualify a little better for the National Guard and to show that we had the speed, but now we have to do that on race day – and we will.
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 DR PEPPER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 18TH: “I’m not going to blame anybody but me… I didn’t get the greatest gap – and that’s on me, yak know. I had to blow the first lap so we had one lap to do it and I didn’t do it. I hope we can get the right set up on the Dr Pepper car to be able to get through the field tomorrow. We have the warm up, but not a lot of practice so we’ll have to see. We have two teammates that advanced so that part of it is good, but it’s frustrating. It’s a double edge sword.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH: "I'm a bit frustrated with qualifying and where we ended up. I guess we're going to have to make it up tomorrow. We haven't been shiny all weekend; we've had some brake issues to deal with. I think we got that fixed for qualifying, so now we can start working on the car. Hopefully we'll have a good car and be able to move forward during the race tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: “We had a little improvement from our previous times. We closed the gap on the leaders which is good. We had some fortune today with guys making mistakes in our group. I think we made some good changes going into that session. I’m hopeful we are getting on to something for the race. There is definitely some potential for a lot of carnage in the race, especially the way things have gone in practice and qualifying. We need to keep working on getting a good race pace for here. We are just hoping for a clean race on Sunday. There are just so many places on this track that can create problems. The name of the game is to stay as clean if possible.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “Well, qualifying wasn’t right from the beginning. I think just waiting until the very last minute to go out and put a lap down put a lot of risk and pressure on us. We couldn’t go through – I clipped the wall on the only qualifying lap I had and bent the pushrods in the back. I couldn’t continue qualifying so we’ll be starting from the back. Anyways, this is probably one of the tracks that you can make a different call on the strategy where you would be able to cycle back to the front; that’s what we’ll be looking for tomorrow.”
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