KV Racing's Tony Kanaan knocked Oriol Servia off the pole in the waning minutes of qualifying for Sunday's Las Vegas IndyCar finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kanaan, was fastest in the final practice, was the next to last qualifier as the track temperatures were cooling. Kanaan's first lap was just a tick too slow to beat Servia, but his second lap was just enough to win his first pole of the season.
Ed Carpenter, who won the last race at Kentucky, will start third, proving his team is a force to reckon with on the ovals.
Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top-5.
Servia says he expects 3 and 4 car wide pack racing on Sunday. "It's going to be exciting and dangerous on Sunday and I just hope everyone comes out safe."
Both front drivers said this tack is easy flat and they rely on their engineers to free the car up to get the speed to qualify fastest.
The two drivers going for the title Will Power and Dario Franchitti, will start back in the pack in 17th and 18th. Starting so far back they can get caught up in an accident and be taken out. So the stress will be high on Sunday.
The Ganassi team has 4 cars in the race and the Penske team has 3 cars. Don't be surprised to see some teamwork come into play drafting-wise to get Will Power and Dario Franchitti to the front.
SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (All times ET)
9:45 a.m. – Las Vegas 100 (67 laps/100 miles)
Noon – Las Vegas Indy 300 pre-race
3:45 p.m. – Las Vegas Indy 300 (200 laps/300 miles), ABC (Live)
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, PEAK Performance Pole Award): "It feels awesome. It has been awhile. I guess I've got to do more Ironmans on my weekends off. I'm extremely happy. I can't thank the GEICO-KV guys enough. We had such an awful race at Kentucky that we needed to turn it around. They went back to the shop to massage that car as much as they could and it paid off."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "We got a two today so hopefully we get a one tomorrow. The Telemundo car was awesome. We were up there in every session and it just shows the car was good. Front row is the best place to start for a race as crazy as this one is going to be so I am very happy with our position and I think we have a great shot at it (win) on Sunday."
ED CARPENTER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "It felt good out there. I was really confident in our race car and qualifying car yesterday in practice, but we had a lot of issues in practice today and really didn't have a good idea of where we were going to be in qualifying. I almost wondered if we'd even be top ten after the first practice session today. I feel pretty good now knowing that the car still does have speed because I was worried we were maybe losing a little speed, but it came back and we ran about what we thought we could run, so that's good."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "We're in the top half of the grid which is good. It was a weird qualifying session; the field is pretty mixed up. I was hoping we could stay in the top 10 but we're in the seventh row so were still in the hunt. Since we've been here our car has felt better in traffic than it has by ourselves. We're going to put our heads together and make sure we bolt on the best race set up that we've got. We proved in Kentucky that we can race our way through even some of the top guys. It's going to be about having a problem-free race, stay out of trouble, make smart decisions and a lot of its going to be about being in the right place at the right time. I'm reasonably happy with where we are."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 34 Bogata Es Mundial Conquest Racing): "I am very satisfied with the positive progress we've show this weekend. We came incredible positive willing to finish this year the right way and I believe we are doing the right way to make this happen. 20th is our best qualifying so far on ovals and that helps our cause quite a bit, there's still some work to do but I'm definitely looking forward to Sunday's race."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 17 Air Ride Pallet/AFS/SSM Racing): "We thought it was a solid run and from where we were in practice to the changes to how the car performed, we made the right steps and maximized our package. That's the quickest we've run in qualifying set-up simulations. From that standpoint, I think we can be pleased. We out-qualified three Ganassi cars and two Penskes, and we're still 12th on the grid. It really just shows how competitive it is. If you just look at the lap times compared to the miles-per-hour, every hundredth of a second would have moved us up a position. We were right there. We were battling for the top 10 in qualifying, but we just didn't have quite enough. We're pretty confident. If we can have a race like Kentucky, we'll come away from here pretty happy."
DAN WHELDON (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/William Rast SSM-BHA Curb Agajanian): "We don't understand why we're so far off the pace. Quite frankly, with the pace were at, we can't stay up in the draft. There's something we're missing. The team is working hard, but unfortunately Bowers & Wilkins at Magnolia/ William Rast and Curb-Big Machine Records car is not very quick right now."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "My lap, my weekend, I don't know what to tell you. From the moment my car rolled off the truck it's been slow. If there's any silver lining it's the fact that Will's back there with me. Will and I were joking that you couldn't have scripted it better. I think both the Target and Penske teams are very capable of getting us from the back to the front. It's definitely not ideal starting this far back, but we will do our best to move to the front."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 IZOD Team Penske): "The IZOD car felt good during qualifying. It was pretty fast, and really there were just four cars faster than us. Our car is strong in race trim and I have been able to run well in traffic and pretty much in any lane so things look pretty good for Sunday. The race is going to be great for the fans and quite intense for the drivers."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus): "Well here we go the last race of the season. Unfortunately I will start at the back of the grid because we had to do a engine change which was considered unapproved under the rules. I am not really concerned where we start. We have done this many times in the past, coming from the back to the front of the field. It is actually very exciting. I think we have one of those good race cars like we have had in the past on the mile and a half ovals. Hopefully, we can bring home a great result so we can close the season on a good note. I also, want to congratulate my teammate Tony Kanaan for taking the pole for this race."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Speed means so much at this track and we're still just trying to get more out of the Verizon car. That's definitely not the result we wanted out of qualifying but we know that this is going to be a pack race and hopefully we can use that to our advantage and move forward in the race on Sunday. We need to win and we have some time between now and then to make sure we are getting the most out of the car."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 57 Angie's List/Sarah Fisher Racing): "We we're great on set-up, so we don't really know what happened. It's a bit of a weak qualifying effort to say the least. But I'm really happy, the Angie's List crew did a great job in practice today…we were P.8, so we've got a great racecar and that's what we've got to look at. I'm so happy for the Dollar General car and Ed qualifying right up front. It's funny because he had problems in practice too and didn't seem very confident for qualifying and now we've swapped around. We're going to go back and take a look over everything. Everything felt fine, and I had good laps. We just didn't have the speed."
JAY HOWARD (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing): "There's 34 drivers out here and we all want to be fast so it's tough to get to the front. The balance of the car is really good, I can put it any place I want it, we're just trying to be faster. We struggled in qualifying at Texas but had a really good race car and hopefully we'll be able to repeat that on Sunday for our partners at Service Central, R66T and Cyrca."
PIPPA MANN (No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing): "We've got a good handling car and I think it will be the same on Race Day, but we're still looking for some speed," Mann reported. "I got to run a good bit in traffic today during practice and the car feels good. Sunday is going to be a long, hot day but it could be good for us if we stay focused and work hard to make our way through the field."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): 'The run was what we had but it will matter very little here where we start. The further ahead the better–the less work you have to do– but it's not going to matter very much. The track reminds me of a faster, easier Texas or Chicago. It will definitely be an exciting race.'
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske): "We ran the speed that we had in the Guidepoint Systems car during qualifying. Certainly we didn't do as well as we would have liked, but the good news is we have a good race car so that is what we are going to concentrate on and go for the best possible result on Sunday."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No.rcle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "It (the speed) is a little slower than we thought. We thought maybe a mid-221 at least. I know that our guys have built a great race car and will be ready for the battle on Sunday. This race will be a strong showing for Andretti Autosport. I am anxious for the race. It should be a good run for the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car. This is going to be less of a handling track as Texas. Thus, that means the cars with not the best balance will be able to hang in the pack. That will mean some very intense racing. It should a wild one."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Team Grime Boss): "The track temperature was pretty much the same as in practice. Not a bad run. It is not as quick as practice but that was with a tow (draft). I didn't get as much as I wanted on the first lap, but my second lap seemed to be pretty good. I was able to work with my tools better on the second one. It will be a crazy race on Sunday."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy: "Overall, I think our team is pretty good. I was surprised by the speed in qualifying. I thought we would be a little faster. I wasn't able to get up to speed as fast as I would have liked. I did what I wanted to do with my bars and weight jacker as in practice. I went a little quicker in second lap and that is good. This will be a pack race on Sunday. So it is nice to qualify towards the front of the field, I'm not sure that will be a big factor for the race. If you have a fast car in the race, I think you will move to the front pretty quickly."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Dr Pepper Ten): "Overall the Dr Pepper TEN car is strong and I think we'll be a contender Sunday. We'll be good in traffic, but everyone is going to be good in traffic – that's why it's going to be a great race for the fans."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir & NovoLog FlexPen): "It's a disappointing qualifying run for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. We were expecting a little more speed out of the No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car. We have a really good race car; we can run in traffic and run in a pack. Race day is going to be about surviving and shooting for a top-10 finish."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "It's definitely a frustrating qualifying result for the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing. We need to figure out how we lost a mile and half from our practice speed; the No. 38 Service Central car is really good, I just don't know where the time went. The Service Central guys have been working really hard this weekend and all season, so I know we'll have a good race car on Sunday."
|Car||Driver||Warm-up||Lap 1||Lap 2||AVG||Diff.|
|32||78||Simona de Silvestro||215.057||218.238||218.025||218.132||0.9055|
*Penalized – will start at back