Scott Dixon qualified the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet on pole for tomorrow's Iowa Corn Indy 300. It was the 23rd career pole for the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and first of 2014.
Dixon will be joined on the front row by teammate Tony Kanaan driving the #10 TNT Energy Drink Chevrolet this weekend. Helio Castroneves starts third in the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, with Ryan Briscoe making it a top-four sweep for The Bowtie Brigade in the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
"It's definitely a good thing to see the Ganassi cars at the top," said the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, whose previous best qualifying result on an oval this season was seventh at Texas Motor Speedway. "We had been stuck in sort of a rut and it had been a while since my last pole. We're winless so we have a bit of work to do. It definitely will be a tough one; the competition is extremely good."
Eight different drivers representing six teams have won this season, though none have been from Chip Ganassi Racing. At Iowa Speedway, Andretti Autosport has won five of the seven races, including the past four.
Carlos Munoz, driver of the #34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com Honda HVM prevented a Chevy top-5 sweep, and will start fifth. Munoz's Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti, who will start eighth is the only other Honda in the top-10 as Chevrolet took 8 of the top-10 spots.
Dixon started on the pole at Iowa in 2007 and 2008, but has yet to win on the oval. His next victory will tie Al Unser Jr. for sixth all-time on the Indy car win list with 34. No driver has won from the pole in the seven races at Iowa Speedway.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): ""It’s a great feeling, which is unfortunate for a team like this. We’re still winless, but I don’t want to be a downer cause we’re starting on the pole and starting on the right end of the field. We had a bit of a tough test here a few weeks ago but coming back the car setup has been a dream to drive. With new people on the team, new engineers and new teammates we’ve changed some of the short track setups and it’s been eye-opening and fun to drive. We’ve rolled off the truck and been really quick. With me qualifying 14th and TK and Ryan (Briscoe) going before me we knew the car had some understeer and were able to put some front wing in (before the qualifying run). It’s great to see all the Ganassi cars in the top seven and a great team effort. I’m excited for the race – Iowa is a fun track and we’ve had some great cars in the past and some great finishes, so hopefully we can put on a fantastic show for the fans here tomorrow – that’s No. 1 on the priority list and obviously to try and win it for us. "
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I had a big moment, which ruined that (first) lap, and was worried if the car was going to stick. I made some adjustments on the second lap and it was not as bad. Top 10 would be really good."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a difficult qualifying–couldn't get good grip so the car was sliding. It was pushing and loose both at both ends (of the track). It was a tough one."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "That performance was kind of what I expected. I had a bit of a difficult practice session because of the weather. We didn't get as far along as we wanted to. That being said, the car feels reasonable. I just got a little bit loose there in both ends of the track in qualifying. They key now is to get it so you can change lines and race well. We will try to hit it tomorrow, it is going to be a long, tough race. It isn't easy around here anyway and at 300 laps, it is going to be tough."
CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "It was a difficult day because I have never tested here and I didn't feel very comfortable with the circuit. We really didn't get our set up finished and when it is an oval the car set up is very important and it makes a big difference. I really hope I can finish tomorrow and have good race like I have had already this season."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "We were dealing with an early draw and a green track after the rain, so not exactly desired conditions for our run. We were definitely loose in Turns 3 and 4 and gave up some track distance on the exit of Turn 4. I’m a little disappointed, but as a team we’ve always had strong race set ups so we’ll work tomorrow to move the Snapple car to the front."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "We just missed it (in qualifying) today, and it’s a shame because the United Fiber & Data car was pretty quick in practice. The good news is our race trim is strong so there is an opportunity to move up, but I’m just gutted for the guys because we do have a good car. I think traffic management is what wins this race. It’s a very short track trait — you’re always going to be racing someone whether it’s for positions or with guys a lap down or maybe guys a lap ahead of you, but you’re always going to be in dirty air. Having a car that versatile out front, high line, low line is definitely going to be key. We have a good baseline from last year, the team has, I think, won here every year but one since the race started so they know their way around this place so it gives us a good place to start from and use for tomorrow."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): "In our two-lap qualifying sessions you don’t really get to feel much in the car, but the car is decent. This race has a lot of passing, and I really think it’s fun for our cars. You can use two lanes, which is great for overtaking. We have a longer race distance than last year, so there will be even more time to make up ground on the leaders. We’ll have to have a clean race to ensure we’re on the lead lap and able to fight at the end."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "Today the teammates’ help was totally different than the help I had at Pocono because I was almost the last to qualify, and we were almost back-to-back to qualify today in Iowa. For sure it’s always helpful (to have teammates) because you have an idea of what the track will be like. It was an okay qualifying; I think everyone gets better as the session goes on. The most important is the race tomorrow – it is 300 laps, a long race… we’ll see what happens."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It’s not a bad run for here but the car did get a little loose on the second lap or we would have had better starting spot. You always want a better speed when you aren’t on the pole. But it has been a tricky day with the weather conditions. Waiting out the rain and the drying of the track is always tough. I think we have a good car for the race. We’ll have to see how the conditions go after the rubber from the truck race and possible rain. We were fast last year here and I feel like our race setup will be good. The 50 extra laps could prove to be a factor towards the finish. The track could really change throughout the race and you have to be able to adjust to that element."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet): "We went in to qualifying blind as we weren’t able to do a qualifying simulation during the final practice session. That of course influenced the small lift I had during my run, which really killed the speed at a track where you need to be running flat the whole time. The Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. – KV AFS Racing car feels great in race mode, very fun to drive and we made a lot of passes during the practice session, it’s just unfortunate that we’re not starting a little further up. We will move forward to tomorrow and with the combination of a good strategy from the team and great pit stops, I’m confident we will have a good result."
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): "I like this track. It’s very unusual to me, being such a small oval. Our car is strong and I like our pace, but I think where we’re lacking right now is my experience level. I’m learning so much each time I get in the car on these new tracks, and today we lost quite a bit of practice time to rain. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports gives me a great car each weekend though, which enables me to pick things up quickly and compete near the front of the field."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "I feel pretty good. Very happy. We didn’t test here and it is only my second time here at Iowa Speedway. We struggled in practice. made some changes this afternoon and it kind of all work out in the end. Jimmy (Vasser) was confident that the car was going to be good, so I said ‘okay, your call.’ I am very happy for the whole KVSH Racing crew and our sponsor Mistic."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): ""We made some changes to the No. 2 Verizon Chevy from practice because we thought we could be just a little better. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I wasn’t sure the car was going to come back when it stepped out on me. We have a lot of laps to make something happen so I’m not worried."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "The National Guard car was very good in practice. At the end of the session I think we found a lot of good things that helped us. And I thought that the car was absolutely planted in qualifying; it was absolutely perfect. We just didn’t trim enough so we were too slow. We got the car where it needs to be but we didn’t get aggressive enough in qualifying so it put us in the back. I think the car will be alright in the race. It’s always tough starting at the back at Iowa though."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Today I was kind of on top of the track – moving all around, loose here, understeer there, so didn’t really know what to do with it. Luckily with Iowa being a short track, qualifying is less important – it’ll be a crazy race tomorrow night, that’s for sure."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It turned into a tough day for us. I thought we had a really good day going. We were looking strong on race trim. In all honesty I'm really happy with where the car is right now I think we have a really good race car to work with tomorrow night. We just got caught out in qualifying. We made some decisions and stuck to them and we ended up struggling with the rear end."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 TNT Energy Drink Chevrolet): "Scott and I both have good cars here. His car was just a little bit better than mine but we’ll both be strong for the race. The grid is so tight here and the competition is the closest I’ve seen in a very long time. Maybe ever. The whole team is fast. We looked fast in Pocono as well and hopefully this week we can finish the race off and get that win."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet): "That was a really good run for the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet. We really struggled today in practice to find the balance, but the guys worked really hard to make sure I had a good car for qualifying. Track position is going to be really important around here tomorrow night, so we will definitely take a fourth and see what we can do with it tomorrow night."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "The No. 83Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet had a great run today in qualifying. We were able to take some data from our teammates, who were already up front, and use that to our advantage for our run. I think the test here a couple of weeks ago really helped us all come to this track with more data and experience. I can’t wait to get out here under the lights tomorrow night and see what Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing can do."
|Pos.||Car #||Driver||Time||Avg. Speed|
|1||9||Scott Dixon **||34.5588 sec.||186.256 MPH|
|2||10||Tony Kanaan||34.6267 sec.||185.891 MPH|
|3||3||Helio Castroneves||34.6651 sec.||185.685 MPH|
|4||8||Ryan Briscoe||34.7299 sec.||185.339 MPH|
|5||34||Carlos Munoz (R)||34.7885 sec.||185.027 MPH|
|6||11||Sebastien Bourdais||34.7995 sec.||184.968 MPH|
|7||83||Charlie Kimball||34.8420 sec.||184.743 MPH|
|8||25||Marco Andretti||34.8451 sec.||184.726 MPH|
|9||12||Will Power||34.8533 sec.||184.683 MPH|
|10||20||Ed Carpenter||34.8710 sec.||184.589 MPH|
|11||77||Simon Pagenaud||34.9106 sec.||184.380 MPH|
|12||7||Mikhail Aleshin (R)||34.9226 sec.||184.316 MPH|
|13||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||35.0308 sec.||183.747 MPH|
|14||27||James Hinchcliffe||35.1070 sec.||183.348 MPH|
|15||15||Graham Rahal||35.1351 sec.||183.201 MPH|
|16||14||Takuma Sato||35.1567 sec.||183.089 MPH|
|17||17||Sebastian Saavedra||35.1578 sec.||183.083 MPH|
|18||19||Justin Wilson||35.2788 sec.||182.455 MPH|
|19||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||35.3055 sec.||182.317 MPH|
|20||98||Jack Hawksworth (R)||35.5148 sec.||181.243 MPH|
|21||67||Josef Newgarden||35.5649 sec.||180.987 MPH|
|22||18||Carlos Huertas (R)||36.1926 sec.||177.849 MPH|
** New two-lap qualification average