Power wins Texas pole

Will Power wins his fourth pole position of 2015

With a two-lap average of 218.441 mph, Team Penske's Will Power edged out teammate Simon Pagenaud to win pole position for tomorrow's Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the Australian's fortieth career pole position and fourth of 2015.

Four-time TMS winner Helio Castroneves made it a Penske sweep of the top-3, with only Colombian Carlos Munoz edging out countryman Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth preventing a Penske sweep of the top-4 spots.

Graham Rahal once again showed himself to be one of the stronger Honda contenders, qualifying sixth. The Chip Ganassi Racing quartet of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam rounded out the top-10.

Defending TMS winner Ed Carpenter was a disappointing 15th. Coverage of the Firestone 600 gets underway tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network with the green
flag scheduled for about 8:50.

QUOTES

WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I drew number one obviously this morning in the drivers meeting. I was a little worried about the conditions. It kind of stayed consistent over the whole run of qualifying. I was really happy to get pole honestly. I felt if I could be in the top five, I'd be happy. Starting first, really happy about that. The race, it's going to be interesting. You got all this stuff you can put on to add downforce if you want. But it's quite draggy, so you lose a bit of speed. It's going to be about finding the right compromise for speed loss versus grip. I guess we'll try some things tonight and see how it all stacks up. I think you'll see a few different variations of what people bolt on as far as body kits go for the race. I've always liked this place a lot. It's fun to drive. It's not just stuck. The car moves around. It's hard. I feel like it's a real driver's oval. I enjoy that. My wife's from here, so I got the whole family out here. I got the pressure to always do well. Otherwise, won't be invited to dinner."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We took all the downforce out of the car and see where it runs. I think we are pretty good. The balance is not there yet. We need some work to do to be a little quicker, but it is what it is. The aero kits drive a little different. We are just trying to figure out what we need to do and where we need to run. We have options to run a lot more downforce if we want to. It is a big penalty so you have to figure out what is the best compromise."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good run for the AAA Chevrolet. We know the car is strong and Team Penske is all working together as a team. But we know here, it really doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish and we feel we have a strong car for the race."

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "It was the first time for me on a high banked oval. To be honest any ovals are new to me. Unfortunately in practice this morning we had a problem with the car, which meant I lost about 35 minutes of the session and on a track like this you need as much track time as possible especially when you only have one 75-minute session before qualifying. It was my first time with a half way trim for qualifying as we didn’t have enough time to be fully trimmed out and it was ok, but we could have done more. We will work on our race setup this evening, it will be a little easier with cooler track temps and luckily oval races are long so it won’t matter quite so much where we start." (On his second oval race and first at Texas) "Indianapolis and Texas are completely different. Here it is pretty hard, almost like riding a roller coaster. It squishes you down like you were going up and down on a ride. It is a lot of fun to drive and to be honest the first time I got on track this morning, I thought ‘wow this is banked’ but I think by tomorrow I will be used to it."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “I sort of screwed the first lap for us and thought we'd be able to run the middle groove of the track. I figured we could run a good lap that way but it was just slow. The second lap, I brought the car down to the white line and had decent speed on tires, but our average was out the window at that point. I felt like we made good changes to the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car going into qualifying. We didn't do any qual sims this morning so I thought it was a good effort by the guys and we just have to work our way forward in the race."

JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was disappointing because we could've been in the top five, I think. We just had a bit of bad luck when we hit the limiter going into turn one. I'm not sure why, we'll go back and look at it but it definitely cost us quite a bit of speed there. We have a good race car with the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Honda and we're just going to focus on tomorrow."

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Lexar Chevrolet): “This was my first time here at Texas Motor Speedway so this morning was just about getting comfortable with a higher downforce level compared to my teammates. I really like that qualifying format. We trimmed out a lot compared to this morning, but I am still running a bit more downforce than my teammates so that’s why my speed was a little low."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Energizer Chevrolet): “For the most part it’s about consistency – a consistent car over the stint. That’s the hardest part, the degradation here and the amount you slow down is almost 15 miles per hour in a stint. That’s going to be key, but obviously getting to the end of the race to start with is the big one. I’ve come up short here a few times, but I have a quick car. Hopefully the No. 9 Energizer EcoAdvancedTM Chevrolet is going to be fast. It seems pretty good in long runs."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Our qualifying run was okay – obviously not as fast as we wanted it to be. We did one qualifying run this morning during the practice session and we made some changes we thought would work. Once we went out on track we realized those changes weren’t the best way to go. Qualifying here at Texas Motor Speedway is such an unknown, so it is what it is. We’ll work more on the race setup tonight and make sure everything is good to go for tomorrow night’s race."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “I think the Hydroxycut machine is a good race car. It’s just in qualifying trim we didn’t get it right. That is the problem with just one practice session before qualifying. We didn’t get a good read, so in qualifying the car was a bit too free and we didn’t take enough downforce out. It’s a shame. It is going to make our life a bit harder tomorrow starting 18th."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It’s exciting to be back at Texas Motor Speedway—very fast and it feels good after the very bumpy track at Detroit. We worked on various things this morning because we only had one practice session before qualifying and we had to figure out the qualifying trim and the race package. The car perhaps isn’t fully optimized but I think the boys did a good job and the car is reasonably fast so I will be happy with that and hopefully we’ll have a strong package for tomorrow."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “Starting up towards the front with these boys is exactly where we need to be. Obviously points are a big focus for us right now. Tomorrow is going to be a tough race; everybody is going to have to manage their tires as well as they can. I feel like our race car is pretty good and I feel like track position is going to be pretty important here too. We’ll just keep working hard and keep our heads down and it will be just fine. For qualifying, the car was pretty loose. We ran more downforce and more drag than some people. Here it is a fine balance: it’s not just about taking off downforce and drag anymore. I’m just happy to have this car up there. I’m proud of this team. These guys have very worked hard. Obviously I’m a part of that but I really give all the credit to them because it’s a different organization and I’m very proud of them. This weekend is a big test for us. We weren’t very happy here last year and we’re just working as hard as we can to put ourselves in a good spot for the race."

PIPPA MANN (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The biggest thing for tomorrow is going to be having a good race car. This morning in testing, we didn't trim out at all in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing car. We are going to go back out there this evening and keep working on our race setup and hopefully all this effort will pay dividends tomorrow for the race."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The practice session tonight will be very important for our car setup for the race tomorrow. This morning was as well. We just did a quick qualifying sim at the same time as everyone else. I was hoping we would have a little more speed, to be honest, and the car felt a little bit better than P16. I was flat across the line and that is the speed you got. It is OK; we will just focus on the race. There will be a lot of things happening in the race and hopefully we will have a good package for tomorrow."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It’s not a speed problem for us, we know how to make the cars go fast. However, it’s hard to do that when the car does not handle well as well as we know it can. We have to figure out how to make this new car work with this new package. We haven’t done a good enough job of that up to this point, but we will keep working on it."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet): “The car is really nice actually. It's a nice carry over from Indy. Just missed it by a little bit, right? I tried to push it as hard as I could. Yeah, we dropped a bit on the second lap, but hat off to the Team Penske boys. They're giving us fantastic cars. It makes our lives super easy as a driver. Tonight is going to be a great session, practice in the cool condition. It's going to be interesting to see how the cars behave in race trim. But this morning was surprisingly pretty good for us on the No. 22 car. (On the aero kits) I think actually INDYCAR is really well balanced with the level of downforce. This morning was interesting. It's really in our hands to drive the car, slide around a little bit in the corners. The tires are being used up quite a bit because of the lack of downforce. It's great. It's giving us the opportunity to really drive hard. There's a bit of a drop-off I think you'll see similar to last year where we're going to start pretty fast, in the 215 mpharea, and then we're going to drop off in the 205 mph average at the end of a stint. It's going to be interesting strategy, a lot of passing. That's what it's all about here in Texas. Pretty excited about it actually."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “I think it was a good run, you know. Having my two teammates in front help us a lot to settle the car up with the bars, the aero. Have to thank them both for the feedback as well. Going out for qualifying, we thought Chevy would be better than us, all the Chevys, you know. But it seems like only the Penskes were the quick ones. We were faster than the other guys. But just qualifying for the race, hopefully with more aero, we can put more for the Honda tomorrow. We will see how it goes. I think practicing tonight will be closer to the race for tomorrow. We are going to see where we are really. For sure, qualifying is not really important here. But it's important because it's hard to pass on this track. Cleaner air, the tires work less. We will see tomorrow. It's a long race. We have one more practice today, we'll see."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “I’m really happy with the No. 27 crew, we’re really maximizing as much as we can in situations. All we can do is the best we can and we just have to keep plugging. The race here is always interesting and we should be able to find a few spots tomorrow night."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “After having the car in the wall this morning, we had to go with something for qualifying (setup). We had to be a little conservative with it – we certainly missed it, but we expected to, though. Qualifying here at Texas doesn’t mean much, but hopefully we were able to (relay information) to help the teammates out a little bit." (About qualifying after not being able to shake the car down after its rebuild): “It’s all about faith, you have no choice other than to have trust in the car and have faith that it’s going to be there for you when you go into Turn 1 the first time. It’s definitely a tough thing to do, and most INDYCAR drivers have been there, but we just have to get along with it. Lap 1 is interesting no matter what, but we got through it. We knew we were going to miss it, but we can make up a bunch of spots on Lap 1 tomorrow."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We didn’t have a great qualifying run but practice went pretty good this morning and the car seems to be working pretty decent in race trim. We have one more practice in race trim and we’ll see if we can dial it in to run up high and run down low because we’re going to have to do some passing tomorrow."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “This morning we were probably the only team that did not do a qualification simulation run, that’s why we appeared to jump up quite a bit in our qualifying times. It’s still not good enough, we’re not where we need to be. It was hard to make up any ground with only a one-hour session and then qualifying. We have another half an hour practice tonight to keep working on it. We’ll keep fighting, we’ve got a great team at CFH Racing. It’s a long night tomorrow, we’re going to put our heads down and see what we can get out of it."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): “The No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet’s qualifying run was pretty good. We had a little more understeer than we would’ve liked which was too bad because I think we’ve been pretty quick this weekend so far in practice. We spent a lot of time during this morning’s practice working on our race car, so we’ll see where we’re at during tonight’s practice heading into tomorrow’s race."

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): “The car was a lot more neutral for qualifying. I think we were just too stuck in practice. We had a wheel break in practice, which was pretty scary. After that, we put only a new right rear only on. That threw off our tire run plan a bit and might have sent us in the wrong direction, setup-wise. So we went a little conservative for qualifying; but now I think we're figuring it out and will be better in race trim."

Results

Rank

# Name Car/Engine/Aero/Tire Lap 1 Lap 2 Total Avg. Speed
1 1 Will Power D/C/C/F 23.9500 23.9910 00:47.9410 218.519mph
2 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/C/F 23.9458 24.0122 00:47.9580 218.441
3 3 Helio Castroneves D/C/C/F 23.9612 24.0786 00:48.0398 218.069
4 26 Carlos Munoz D/H/H/F 24.0177 24.0746 00:48.0923 217.831
5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya D/C/C/F 24.0416 24.1173 00:48.1589 217.530
6 15 Graham Rahal D/H/H/F 24.0610 24.1182 00:48.1792 217.438
7 9 Scott Dixon D/C/C/F 24.0594 24.1259 00:48.1853 217.411
8 10 Tony Kanaan D/C/C/F 24.0665 24.1351 00:48.2016 217.337
9 83 Charlie Kimball D/C/C/F 24.0897 24.1150 00:48.2047 217.323
10 8 Sage Karam D/C/C/F 24.1390 24.1552 00:48.2942 216.920
11 27 Marco Andretti D/H/H/F 24.1290 24.1752 00:48.3042 216.876
12 7 James Jakes D/H/H/F 24.0723 24.2344 00:48.3067 216.864
13 14 Takuma Sato D/H/H/F 24.1562 24.1903 00:48.3465 216.686
14 67 Josef Newgarden D/C/C/F 24.1572 24.2958 00:48.4530 216.210
15 20 Ed Carpenter D/C/C/F 24.2105 24.2453 00:48.4558 216.197
16 19 Tristan Vautier D/H/H/F 24.2517 24.2643 00:48.5160 215.929
17 41 Jack Hawksworth D/H/H/F 24.2722 24.3131 00:48.5853 215.621
18 11 Sebastien Bourdais D/C/C/F 24.3140 24.3429 00:48.6569 215.303
19 5 Ryan Briscoe D/H/H/F 24.4444 24.2444 00:48.6888 215.162
20 98 Gabby Chaves D/H/H/F 24.3376 24.3550 00:48.6926 215.146
21 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/H/F 24.3495 24.3703 00:48.7198 215.026
22 18 Pippa Mann D/H/H/F 24.3600 24.4441 00:48.8041 214.654
23 4 Stefano Coletti D/C/C/F 24.6630 24.7685 00:49.4315 211.930

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