Franchitti fastest but Viso to start 1st in Detroit

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti won pole for tomorrow's IndyCar race in Detroit. Franchitti turned a fast lap of 1:19.33 beating E.J. Viso by two tenths of a second. Viso, however, will start tomorrow's race on pole as Franchitti has to serve a ten grid spot penalty for an engine change.

Rounding out the top six were Mike Conway, James, Jakes, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Tagliani. Of note is Honda took 7 of the top-10 spots, with only Viso and Hunter-Reay representing Chevrolet's Bowtie Brigade in their home race.

A heavy shower immediately prior to the first session forced the first group to qualify on a wet track, although a dry line began to appear later.

Mike Conway drove a brilliant qualifying run to the top of the grid for tomorrow’s Duel in Detroit Grand Prix.

After qualifying for the Firestone top 12 and again for the Firestone Fast Six, Mike took his #18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q car to a best time of 79.828 seconds which was good for 3rd place overall. Dario Franchitti who set the fastest lap, will receive a 10 grid spot penalty for changing an engine out of schedule and hence move Conway from third up to second.

Mike Conway will start on the outside of row one alongside EJ Viso who starts from position one.

“I am happy to have a good start for race one tomorrow", commented Conway. “The team has given me a great car and we look to run strong in the race."

Conway comes to Dale Coyne Racing on a one week notice to drive the entries #18 car here at Detroit’s Belle Isle track. “Mike has done a great job on such short notice," commented Coyne. “Tomorrow’s weather looks like rain so anything can happen."

This weekend marks the first of three double header race weekends in 2013. Saturday’s race starts with ABC television coverage a 3:30PM EST. Saturday morning will be the second qualifying session for Sunday’s second leg of the double header race weekend. Sunday’s race will also be televised on ABC at 3:30.


CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "It was challenging to see this track for the first time in the wet during qualifying. I knew it was the last lap, so I was trying for it and just spun, hit the wall a little bit and bent up the left front of the car. We've have a grid penalty in this race already so we'll learn what we can and be ready for qualifying tomorrow morning and then the race tomorrow and on Sunday."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "It's disappointing that the Boy Scouts of America Honda didn't get beyond the first round of qualifying. The track was drying fast towards the end of the session and you always want to try and cross the start/finish line as close to the last guy as possible. But the car was a bit of a handful out there. We were just skating around and didn't quite have the grip we needed. It's just the way it goes, and we'll keep working away at it. I think we've got a pretty good race car and we'll just take tomorrow as it comes."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ""The rain caught us off guard. We already had a 10 place penalty so we already had a hole to dig through regardless. It was one of those deals where we didn't get everything pulled together and then just got caught out by the rain. I think we have plenty of speed in the SFHR car though and we'll do just fine tomorrow. I think we have everything we need to do well."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Last year in the rain at Mid-Ohio, I was too aggressive and got off the track. So I wanted to be more conservative with the rain conditions and the new Firestone wet tire. Being in the second group in round one, the track was drying more and the times were quicker. Our group just wasn't ready for slickers just yet though. Judging the conditions will be the name of the game this weekend with rain expected again on Saturday. So anything can happen and I'm not sure it matters where you start for the race. Last year, after the track came up, the rain changed things in the race. So it will be real crap shoot in both races this weekend."

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "It was kind of a weird session because the track was drying and on my last lap I lost the car in the last turn. I almost crashed and had to lift and that cost us the advancement, which is a bit frustrating because the team did a good job with the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car, and that mistake cost us. But, it's going to be a long race tomorrow and we'll just work from here."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It's always difficult on a street course to move up in the field. I'm very disappointed. Our car was good enough for the Firestone Fast 6. HP did a fantastic job today and so did Honda. Unfortunately we got caught out with bad officiating. When there's a danger on the race track, what do you do? You either throw a red flag or yellow flag the whole session. But you don't throw a yellow flag and then a red flag because everyone gets hosed. We didn't put in a quick lap under yellow because we respected the rules. We are the only ones who did and now we're starting ninth when we had a chance to start much higher. I'm very upset about it and rarely raise my voice about issues, but this is unfair."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): " "I think if someone had told us we would qualify seventh after our poor practice session where we didn't manage to run more than two laps in a row we wouldn't have believed them. The thing is that Helio (Castroneves) was behind me when he spun, so I was the last car not affected by the incident. They let other drivers complete their laps but did not let us complete the lap. We had potential to be in the Firestone Fast 6, but sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. We turned things around well for qualifying after our bad practice session so we're happy about that. We'll be ready for tomorrow." — Tristan Vautier

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "I got sent out for qualifying with double the rear tire pressure that there was meant to be. It's extremely frustrating because the RC Cola Chevy was definitely good enough to advance once the problem was solved… but I only had time for one out lap – which almost advanced me but wasn't enough in the end. I will come back swinging tomorrow to try to score enough points to keep the (championship points) lead."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): ""It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. With the rain, and the drying track. It keeps you nervous, it keeps you on your toes. You are always searching on every lap for that tenth of a second. Which is a lot of fun in these cars. So that was cool. I just don't know where the speed went that last round because in the Top 12 we were 80.2 and then we only went two tenths quicker in the Fast Six. So we got to look at that. A little disappointed with it, but we are in the Fast Six. We are starting up front. So we should be able to go and have a good day. Unfortunately Mike Conway is here crashing the Fast Six party again. You can never count him out."

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "This track is so technical that it is tough to learn in such a short amount of time, but I need to be better in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet. It was a tough adjustment getting used to the rain but that looks like something we need to prepare for this weekend. We will come back tomorrow ready to compete and see what we can do."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The track was wet and when the red tires were put on the Hitachi Chevrolet, the track was dry. My frustration wasn't spinning out but the fact that I couldn't get the car in reserve. I was going backwards and forwards and it wouldn't work and once you stall the car, that's it. So definitely a frustrating time for us. The car was good and it should have been a great run for our Hitachi Chevy. We will move on and look forward to the race tomorrow."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously the mixed conditions today made it difficult to really get the most out of the National Guard car on the first outing. I'm still really just getting familiar with the racecar, the wheel, and everything that goes along with it. I was really hoping that qualifying would be dry, because I felt like we all had a good feeling coming out of morning practice. But that's the beauty of this weekend being a doubleheader is that we've got two shots at it – we'll see what tomorrow morning brings us, but I really feel like a Top Ten is a good goal for qualifying tomorrow and we'll try to build on that."

E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet): "Very excited. It will be my first pole in IndyCar. I've been in pole in other car races, but being in pole in IndyCar is definitely one of my targets, my aims that I wanted to accomplish. And little by little working with this group things are starting to come together. I am very proud of all this hard work that we have been doing as a team, as a crew. I am very excited about this year." (About being at the front for a street race): "It is good. I think it has given me some good chances to stay in the front and be sure I'm going to have a competitive car. We have proven that so far. And I'm really looking forward to it."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Suave Honda): "Thank you to the Target boys because I bent the car up this morning and they did a great job getting the Suave car ready again and I just hung on to it. I think I was a long shot to get through Q1. I did four laps in practice this morning. It was interesting obviously with the rain in the first session, getting through in that, and then the drying track and fully drive there really in the end, so we had all the conditions there. I have to thank the engineering group, we had a really tough Indianapolis and to back with a pole is great, obviously with a 10-spot grid penalty tomorrow. I'll do the best from where we start.

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet): "Well, that's definitely not the qualifying that I was expecting coming off of a win in Indy. The qualifying session started wet and my Chevy Firestone car was fast in those conditions, but as soon as the track started to dry I could not keep up with the other guys. We'll continue to work on the setup for the qualifying session for Sunday's race and get that one sorted out before we go green on tomorrow's race."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Certainly not what we expected to get out of the session with the Verizon Chevrolet. It's mixed up at the front, which it seems to be every week now, so that should make for interesting racing tomorrow. As you've seen in previous races you can still have a strong race starting tenth, so we will come out with a good plan and try to make our way to the front."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ""Interesting qualifying. After the torrential rain, the track was drying out quickly. We were comfortably the quickest in the semi-wet conditions so we were confident about qualifying today. In the second segment we did a check run on black tires and then came in for the reds. We went back out and on my out lap a car had spun in turn 3, bringing out a local yellow. I had to back off for traffic the next lap and it was still a local yellow in 3. Then when I was on my hot lap, they called for the red flag for no reason, so I never got to finish the hot lap. It's just very frustrating for the team and the effort they put in."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "I was pretty happy with the Midas/Big O Tires car; I thought it wasn't too far off. I just got caught up in traffic with Helio and Briscoe and Ed. And finally I came out of traffic behind Helio and Dixon and still in it but I tried to push a little harder and the rear tires were gone. On the last lap, when Dixon spun we were up more than two-tenths (of a second on his best lap time) and we would have made it to the top six to progress but hey, what can you do? That's part of it. With our engine change penalty we will start towards the back so we have some work to do in the first Duel. I really like the rain. The one race I won in the series was in the rain most of the time. Every time we race in the rain I seem to do better so I'm totally fine if it rains in the race Saturday. I'd be happy."

JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "Obviously it was tough on everyone with the weather conditions, and I think the biggest thing was just staying patient, really. I was out with the first group of the first 12 and it was quite a bit wetter. You just had to make sure you had a clean lap at the end of the session with a couple of a minutes to go to maximize the potential of the car. I think we did that. I've been pretty happy with the pace all weekend, especially in practice this morning. The balance with the reds changed quite a bit, so we still have quite a bit of work to do. Obviously with the weather coming in, and the forecast tomorrow, starting as high up as you can is going to be key, and we got a great position."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): ""It was obviously a bit dryer in our session. The tires started to go pretty quick. So obviously one tire, and then you try have to back off and cool the tires down and go for another one and that was enough to put me through. Obviously the other two [segments] after that were still tricky. The drying conditions at the end there beat the tires up pretty hard. I think we went out maybe a little too early, but to be third straight back in the car again is good. Obviously a good starting position for the race."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "The GoDaddy car felt really good — I just needed another lap. When you are in these conditions, you're taking it cautious… but I couldn't be too cautious because I knew the circumstance and every lap you are going to find speed within yourself and the track is drying on top of that. We had two things working against us. We ran the car through tech prior to qualifying and something in there held us up a bit. We didn't get the car into pit lane until the session had already gone green… with conditions like these you are learning every lap and we did three laps less than everyone else. Then, what really got us was the fact that we were the first car to get the checkered flag. When you are in drying conditions, the last car to cross the line is in the best situation. When I crossed the line I was in P3; at the end I was in P11. So for how few laps we did and the fact that we were the first guys to get the checker… it's an effort. We did everything we could but circumstances in every way shape and form were working against us today."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): ""It's really nice to be back in the front. Obviously we struggled a little bit with the new tires this year from the beginning of the year. We worked a lot, the team work a lot, and I was kind of nervous a bit at the beginning to unload the car, being a one car team there's not too many chances. We didn't know it yet, but the car was really fast so we were really happy about that. The team did a great job with that. Qualifying car was really good too. We made some changes and at the end we knew we had a chance at the pole and we kind of messed up the car a bit. So that was unfortunate because the car was really fast, so hopefully we can make it up in the race."


1. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3311 (106.642)
2. (5) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 01:19.5572 (106.339)
3. (18) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.8285 (105.977)
4. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.9897 (105.764)
5. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 01:20.0030 (105.746)
6. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 01:20.3514 (105.288)
7. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 01:22.4997 (102.546)
8. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:22.7164 (102.277)
9. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:22.8250 (102.143)
10. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:22.9537 (101.985)
11. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 01:26.8058 (97.459)
12. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, No Time (No Speed)
13. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy, 01:37.7163 (86.577)
14. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:30.5258 (93.454)
15. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 01:37.8023 (86.501)
16. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:30.6929 (93.282)
17. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 01:37.8891 (86.424)
18. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 01:31.0623 (92.903)
19. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:38.0723 (86.263)
20. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:31.5555 (92.403)
21. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:38.2000 (86.151)
22. (4) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:31.6222 (92.336)
23. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 01:38.8651 (85.571)
24. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 01:33.3912 (90.587)
25. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:44.0316 (81.321)

Note: Castroneves lost two fastest laps for causing a red flag in Qualifying Segment 2.

Firestone Fast Six Qualifying Results:

Ps. Driver Team Engine – Chassis Best Time
1. Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 1:19.3311
2. E.J. Viso Andretti Autosport/HVM Chevrolet Dallara 1:19.5572
3. Mike Conway Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 1:19.8285
4. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 1:19.9897
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 1:20.0030
6. Alex Tagliani Barracuda Racing/BHA Honda Dallara 1:20.3514

Second Round Qualifiers:

7. Tristan Vautier Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Dallara 1.22.4997
8. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 1:22.7164
9. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda Dallara 1.22.8250
10. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 1:22.9537
11. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon Racing Chevrolet Dallara 1:26.8058
12. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara No time

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