Will Power turned the fastest lap of the weekend when it counted to win the pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course in his Penske Chevy. Power's lap of 1m05.6474s beat four Honda powered machines headed by Dario Franchitti.
The Australian recorded the quickest lap time of 1m05.6474s – only three-tenths of a second off the Indy car circuit record set by Dario Franchitti in 1999 and matched by Gil de Ferran in 2000 – on his final lap of the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six session.
Simon Pagenaud was third followed by Alex Tagliani and Scott Dixon.
Ryan Briscoe was the slowest of the final Fast Six qualifying session.
It was Power's 27th career pole position tying Al Unser Sr. for 8th of all-time. Mario Andretti still holds the pole position record with 63.
“My car was better today on the used Firestone reds, they had a lot of grip," said Power. "Once I got the tires up to temperature, they really started working for me and the car really hooked up. I’ve never seen so much grip in this car. That was the most physical it’s been all season. It’s the hardest I’ve tried all year, the most I’ve put into a lap. We needed that pole. We understand the task at hand to win the championship, which is to continually go for it and win races."
What could have been for Justin Wilson
After suffering a season-ending back injury during a practice session at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last year, Justin Wilson came back this weekend with a vengeance. From the moment the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda took the track, he commanded the top of the leaderboard. In Saturday morning’s practice, he ran consistently in the top-ten before rocketing to the top of the chart, finishing the session with the fastest lap seen until that point this weekend.
Wilson continued his domination by setting a new IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying lap-speed record at Mid-Ohio during Group One of Round One qualifying Saturday morning. His P1 fast speed made him a favorite moving into round two for the Firestone Fast Twelve. Running P1 with five minutes to go in Round Two, the car misfired, causing him to lose engine power with track conditions that were improving with every lap, which relegated him back to P12 on the starting grid for Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
"The car just misfired on us during the Firestone Fast 12 today," said Wilson. “It is a shame because the No. 19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda was P1 in practice this morning and P1 during first round qualifying today. And we were running P1 during the Firestone Fast 12 when the car misfired, which dropped us all the way back to P12. I am pretty confident that we would have made it into the Firestone Fast Six and possible had a shot at winning the pole today. We set a new track record after the first round of qualifying, which just goes to show how great of a race car we have here at Mid-Ohio this weekend. I think we have a legitimate shot at winning the race tomorrow."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I am so tired after this session I am shaking, this place is so physical. I really think my Verizon car is better on used tires – there is so much grip and the Verizon 12 Chevy has so much downforce around this place that it is so fun to drive, it is amazing. This session today is the hardest I have tried all year – I just kept pushing and pushing, I had to. It is the most that I have put into a lap. We needed that pole and it is so important to start up front to keep pushing, if we have a chance for the Championship.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Not a bad session. We got everything we could out of the GE car. I thought I did a good lap. Good enough obviously. We beat Will's time there. That's the sixth front row start in a row so hopefully we can turn it into a result tomorrow. Qualifying has been the relatively easy part so hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow." (What are you expecting tomorrow?): "It is going to be interesting. Especially if it rains. If not we still have the push to pass. With the delay and everything with the 5 seconds you are going to see passing in Turn 4. Very tight fuel window. I think you'll see a very interesting day out there. It's so close. I mean there was one-tenth that covered the whole top 6 in qualifying two, can't get much closer than that."
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 GE Reveal Honda): ""The car was good. Having to run Q3 on the same set of tires they were pretty much gone already. We tried to make a few changes, but the front tires were worn. I think we have something in the back pocket, which will be good for our starting spot."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet): ""We were struggling with understeer today. We made changes for the Fast Six and I just couldn't carry the speed. We're at a handicap here; I'm think one of three on an older Chevy spec engine, which is significantly slower on the straights. It was a good run, though. I'm happy with the good starting spot for tomorrow."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus-HMV Racing Lotus): "Qualifying was the same as how it's been going which is not good because we're always starting in the back. But, I think we have a strong race car. We worked really hard to make that happen. We'll see what happens tomorrow in the race. It's disappointing because everybody is working so hard and we can't really do anything right now."
GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "We were supposed to have a better qualifying session but it's just learning for me in this race. Everything is new since it's my first time here. Each time I've jumped in the car I've been able to improve. Tomorrow will be a tough race but the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team has given me a good car so I just need to keep up the momentum."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "We are disappointed. We've had the pace all weekend but the car would just not turn. We had the tougher group for sure, but we just didn't put ourselves in a good enough position. We'll look to make improvements for tomorrow. Overall, I'm looking forward to my home race at Mid-Ohio."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ""It's been a frustrating weekend so far. We came away with a good test here last week but now this weekend the car was the same but completely different. It's lacking overall grip–just not getting the tires to work. We've got to keep working at it and try to get it better."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): ""I can't complain about the balance of the car. The car has pretty good balance and is a fun car to drive, however there is no grip. There is no way we can go any faster than we are right now. We are losing a lot of valuable time because of the lack of grip, which is so important especially with such a competitive field."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "We have made the car a little better and I felt I was able to go slightly faster, however it's like walking on a tightrope. The balance is very tight, it is what it is. I'm consistently getting better, but unfortunately the car is still not where we would like it to be."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics- KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "The car was improved from the morning practice to qualifying. It just wasn't a big enough improvement, so we will have to work that much harder in the race tomorrow."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It was an OK session for us. I think we're in the hunt for sure, but it's just very tight out there. I didn't really get a great lap in during the second session. I think we did a good job of getting as close as we could we just need a little bit more. It's going to be a tight race for sure and we've got to get to work for tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): ""We were able to improve a little today but not as much I would have liked. We lost a lot of time yesterday with the braking issues. So that kind of put us behind the eight ball for the weekend. But I thought we would pick up more time after the morning practice. It's not where we want to be right now. We'll have to make some changes with the car for Sunday's race. It is always a tough race physically here. It wears out a driver and mistakes can happen a lot at Mid-Ohio."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "I'm disappointed in the qualifying result especially since I like the circuit and had a good record the past two years here. It's a shame that we didn't have good speed to go to the next stage of qualifying. The field is very competitive as usual in Mid-Ohio. We made good progress so we made a big improvement from the practice session. Our lap time delta is really ramping up but it wasn't enough to progress to the next stage. It was only a couple of tenths but we needed a little bit more. We will take the experience from qualifying and the practice sessions and continue to work on it tomorrow."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda): "The car just misfired on us during the Firestone Fast 12 today. It is a shame because we really had a great race car. The Sonny's BBQ team has done a fantastic job giving me a fast car. We were P1 yesterday in practice, P1 again in practice this morning and P1 during first round qualifying today. And we were running P1 during the Firestone Fast 12 when the car misfired which dropped us all the way back to P12. I am pretty confident that we would have made it into the Firestone Fast Six and possible had a shot at winning a pole today. All we can do is bounce back tomorrow and run our race. It will be interesting to see if it will be a wet or dry race tomorrow. We set a new track record after the first round of qualifying which just goes to show how great of a race car we have here at Mid-Ohio this weekend. I think we have a legitimate shot at winning the race tomorrow."
JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of American Honda): "Today was really frustrating for us, because yesterday we had one of the fastest cars on track. I knew that qualifying today was going to be key, and I'm not quite sure what happened. The Boy Scouts of America team has worked incredibly hard to give me such a fast car and for some reason we've had trouble translating that through qualifying. We'll keep looking at the data and working to get our car back up to the leader board so we can put on a good show tomorrow."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "It's a bummer for us to start so far back tomorrow. We ran well in the test here and I know the Go Daddy Chevy is competitive – but we just weren't able to get the lap put together during qualifying today to get us back into the Firestone Fast Six. The car has more speed it in and we were on pace today to advance, but got held up in traffic behind Ed (Carpenter) and just didn't get the lap we needed. It's a shame but just means we'll have to keep fighting and that's what we do best. The crew and I will work hard tonight and do our best to advance during the race tomorrow."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): "The race is going to be very close, and I thinks it's going to be interesting. It will take qualifying laps for the whole race because the field is so tight. We're disappointed not to make the (Firestone) Fast Six, but we expected the field to be close because of the open test here (last week). We're going to make the most of it tomorrow. It really feels like a home race for us with the Pelotonia colors on the car. We've had a lot of enthusiastic fans that have let us know they're happy we're raising awareness for the cause."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "We were just shy on front grip – just a little off on the front wing – and that made it difficult to really turn in the time we needed. Had we advanced into the next round, we could have had a real shot at the front with a change. We've been fast in each session, so I expect we'll be fast in the race."
1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:05.6474 (123.825)
2. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:05.8950 (123.360)
3. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:05.9038 (123.343)
4. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.0047 (123.155)
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.0967 (122.983)
6. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.2005 (122.791)
7. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 01:05.9405 (123.275)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.0660 (123.041)
9. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.1142 (122.951)
10. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.1721 (122.843)
11. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.2053 (122.782)
12. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.6613 (121.942)
13. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.7041 (121.864)*
14. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.3768 (122.464)
15. (8) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.7101 (121.853)
16. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.4349 (122.357)
17. (14) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.7807 (121.724)
18. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.4404 (122.347)
19. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.8433 (121.610)
20. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 01:06.4511 (122.328)
21. (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.1234 (121.102)
22. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:06.6250 (122.008)
23. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 01:08.0737 (119.412)
24. (83) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.0348 (121.262)
25. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.5116 (118.649)
*The #3 entry of Team Penske driven by Helio Castroneves has been issued a 10 spot grid penalty for Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio for an unapproved engine change.