Juan Pablo Montoya wins pole at Pocono
Starting next to the Colombian tomorrow, will be teammate Will Power, who checked in with a countryman a two-lap average of 223.725 mph. Carlos Munoz was the fastest Honda with a lap of 223.083, and will complete the front row.
"It's the luck of the draw, but the big thing was we had good balance," said Montoya, who returned to Indy car racing this season after 14 years competing in Formula One and stock car racing.
"Am I back? Well, I'm getting there. I feel like I'm getting there every week. We keep working harder and keep finding speed and more results. So it's exciting. I think we're going in the right direction.
"(The track is) so different (from NASCAR). We run wide open all the way around here. I think the average speed is 30 or 40 miles per hour faster than we do in a Cup car. It's fast."
CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Today was OK. We didn't get as much testing as we wanted a few weeks ago when we were here. I don't really know this place well and it has been tricky to set up the car, but we will see tomorrow. Each weekend is a new track for me because I have never raced at these tracks and I didn't really test at any of them so my first experience with them is when we arrive for race weekend. The goal is to have a good race and do good pit stops and do good strategy. Hopefully that will pay off and I will be there at the end."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "The car had too much understeer and just wouldn't turn. The second lap was a pretty solid one, but unfortunately the first lap was pretty slow. We didn't put enough aero in it and the car just pushed too much. I don't think we were going to do a 223 (mph) or anything like that, but we ran a 221.7 with a huge lift so I think it could have been a mid-to-high 222, which would have put us much closer to the front. You can use the tools (in the cockpit) to adjust only so much and we got better (from Lap 1 to Lap 2), but the National Guard car is really good this weekend so we just wanted more. I think that our race car is particularly good so I'm looking forward to the race."
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): "My car was strong when I was out there running on my own for qualifying. I made a small mistake in Turn 1 on my second lap, which definitely hurt us. We have a very long race tomorrow, and my job will be to make sure we don't make any mistakes. On each oval other than Indianapolis, the four corners actually feel like two to me in the car. Here at Pocono, it feels like I have an extra turn. I'm really enjoying how technical this track is. It's very difficult for the driver because each turn is so different from the one before it. I think Turn 1 is my favorite because the bump in the middle makes it very challenging. You have to be concentrating and performing at the top of your game to drive that turn properly."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): "My car was bottoming out during the qualifying run, which definitely didn't help our speed. I think, overall, our car is very good though. Looking where Ryan Hunter-Reay started when he won the Indianapolis 500 this year, I'm not too concerned about starting 10th. I think passing tomorrow will be very dependent on tire wear and how the other cars around you behave on their tires. We have strong consistency on our Firestone tires. So I'll be depending on that tomorrow."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "We had a good run today in qualifying. The No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet was the best it's been all day. I think the conditions are just really good right now and we maybe could have been a bit greedier with the downforce but it was a good, solid run."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "I'm not too worried about our qualifying position right now. We qualified mid-pack last year and then we ended up finishing strong in the race. Tonight we'll take some time to look at what our teammates did and compare notes and see what kind of data they have. I think the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet looks really good and I'm excited for the 500 miles tomorrow."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "Today we spent both practice sessions working on the balance of the Target car. I think we'll be OK for the race, but you just have very limited time here at Pocono. Each of the three turns here is distinctively different so you really have to be able to compromise the setup to get things right. Last year we showed you never know what can happen here after starting back in the pack and finishing 1-2-3."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "I'm pretty confident in the Target car and it's obviously a very long race with 500 miles so you have to let it play out. I think we went a bit conservative on the setup and the No. 10 car had more in it for sure. We have a good race car under us and today is a decent start to the job we'll have to do tomorrow."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet): "Of course we wanted to be a little more up front, but not being able to test at ovals as much as we want is showing and starting to hurt us. Our main focus this morning was to just mileage out the car, which we managed. My Automatic Fire Sprinkler guys were super impressive to change my Chevrolet engine in an hour and a half. In qualifying, I bottomed very hard in Turn 1 on my first green lap and that killed everything because I had to lift and that lost me speed. My second lap was much quicker, but by then I had lost the momentum. On a positive note though I think we have a good race car so we will just have to see how the race plays out tomorrow."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "The car felt pretty good. We picked up a little push as the run went on, but that is the quickest we have run by 2 or 3 miles per hour. I am fairly happy with it. I know it isn't going to be good enough for the top 12 or maybe even 15, but I think we have made a lot of progress from the practice earlier today and I think we are going in the right direction. Hopefully we are in good shape to race tomorrow. It is going to be a long race so we will try to stay out of trouble and just try to survive."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "The track conditions and the wind the way it's been, practice was a little tougher than last year, so we weren't quite sure what to expect coming into qualifying. As always, the Andretti Autosport cars were super strong and big credit to the United Fiber & Data boys - this is UFD's home race, they're based not too far from here. We're definitely happy with the run we put in. Having teammates is one of the big benefits of having a multi-car team like this because we can all help each other out. I know I got information off Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Marco (Andretti), and we were able to relay a little more information to Carlos (Munoz)."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "I mean not bad, not great you know, but good. I think we had a decent shake at it, but I think we ran too much downforce. I mean I want to perform well here. I want to definitely capitalize and win. The Snapple car ran strong, we just need to win."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "For sure having teammates, getting all that information, it helps you, helps you for what you can expect; that's a great thing about having so many teammates. This time I was the last teammate (to run), and normally I'm the first one to go out, so I'm usually giving the information. But our run was great, the Cinsay car was great. I'm happy to start on the front row for the race - third position. Tomorrow is a long race, 500 miles, but I have a really good car to fight for the lead."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "We don't really know what happened right now. We're obviously going to try and find an answer before tomorrow. It was a very strange crash, probably the strangest crash I've ever had in an Indy car. The front end felt like it skipped. It felt like something caught under the front of the car. As soon as that happened the front was completely gone and we went straight into the wall. Very odd crash. I think we have a fast car. We are really confident in what we were doing in practice. We did a lot of race running so I think we should be good for tomorrow."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "I'm getting there. To be honest, I'm happy to be here in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This week we have the PPG car and everybody at Chevy and Team Penske has worked really hard for me. It's really exciting. Am I back? Well, I'm getting there. I feel like I'm getting there every week. We keep working harder and keep finding speed and more results. So it's exciting. I think we're going in the right direction. (The track is) so different (from NASCAR). We run wide open all the way around here. I think the average speed is 30 or 40 mph faster than we do in a Cup car. It's fast."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "We kind of went for a guess on the balance of the car and it wasn't right. We had some issues. So I think our teammates were able to learn from that. We were kind of the first hat to fall there. We were the one (my teammates) were going to take the balance from and they were able to have a good run."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "A very good day for us. We were strong here last year so we knew we had a good package. The ABC car worked very well straight into practice and we were in the ballpark. We worked on all the small details. It would have been nice to get the pole, but I can't be too greedy. We had a good solid run and I really enjoyed it. It is so challenging here because Turn 1 and Turn 3 are completely different. You have to move the tools every single lap. The car worked really well so good job by all the boys and Don (Halliday), our engineer, did a great job. Hopefully we continue the speed and strength tomorrow."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a pretty good run. I had probably too big of a lift on my first lap, too much understeer. But apart from that, Juan ran a bit more downforce, so I thought if he can be flat or have less of a lift, he's going to be very tough to beat. But still very good for Penske to have a one-two."
Results by Row
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, 223.871
4. Takuma Sato, 222.798
10. Ryan Briscoe, 221.565
13. Ed Carpenter, 221.019
19. Sebastian Saavedra, 218.502
22. Jack Hawksworth, No time
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