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Power To Start St. Pete From The Pole

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 26 2011

Will Power won the pole in St. Pete.

RacinToday.com

Team Penske’s Will Power will start Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from the pole.

Power, who was finished second to Dario Franchitti in last year’s championship battle, had a qualifying speed of 104.579 mph. over the St. Pete street course.

“It was a good session,” said Power, who won his second pole at St. Petersburg pole and the 17th pole of his Indy car racing career. “We knew it would be tough out there and the Verizon car is in great shape for tomorrow.  I’m really happy to start the season this way.”

Qualifying second fastest was Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Franchitti had a fast lap at 104.021 mph.

“I was just finding the limit each lap more and more,” Franchitti said. “I was getting a little bit braver each lap but I just ran out of tire. It’s a great starting spot and the Target crew did an outstanding job putting the car back together after the incident I had in the morning session.”

Franchitti’s teammate, Scott Dixon was third fastest and Mike Conway of Andretti Autosport was fourth.

“It was pretty consistent for us today,” Dixon said. “I messed up a little in the Firestone Fast 6 segment but we’ve been around the same speeds both days so far. I think we have a few tenths left in the car. I’m really looking forward to the double-wide restarts tomorrow. It should be a great show for the fans.”

Veteran driver Tony Kanaan, whom a week ago did not have a ride for 2011, qualified eight fastest in a KV Racing Technology car.

“I have to thank the whole GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus team,” he said. “I jumped into this car two days ago and the whole team made me feel right at home.  I am just happy to be here and happy that I gave them a good solid qualifying result today.  This is just the beginning and I have to remember to be patient, which is hard for me. It is going to be a hard race tomorrow.  The race setup is not what we used in qualifying, but we have a warm-up tomorrow to fine tune the car.  My goal is to have a good performance and bring the car home.”

In Firestone Indy Lights, Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers qualified first, second and third.

On pole is Esteban Guerrieri while Conor Daly is second and Josef Newgarden is third. The Lights race will precede the IndyCar race on Sunday.

Qualifying Saturday for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.8-mile Streets of St. Petersburg Street Circuit, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 01:01.9625 (104.579)

2. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.2953 (104.021)

3. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.3975 (103.850)

4. (27) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.5306 (103.629)

5. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.5744 (103.557)

6. (22) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.7729 (103.229)

7. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.6312 (103.463)

8. (82) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.7818 (103.215)

9. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.8204 (103.151)

10. (77) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.8225 (103.148)

11. (5) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:02.9312 (102.970)

12. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.0640 (102.753)

13. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.1315 (102.643)

14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.1778 (102.568)

15. (02) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.2434 (102.461)

16. (17) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.2594 (102.435)

17. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.2724 (102.414)

18. (19) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.3188 (102.339)

19. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.3764 (102.246)

20. (24) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.8036 (101.562)

21. (59) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.4065 (102.198)

22. (18) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.8854 (101.432)

23. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.5162 (102.021)

24. (34) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.9696 (101.298)

25. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 01:03.8256 (101.527)

(This story will be updated shortly)

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 26 2011
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