Castroneves Stays Hot, Wins Barber Pole

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 31 2012

Helio Castroneves on Barber pole. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)


Helio Castroneves followed up his victory in the season-opening IndyCar Series race at St. Petersburg, Fla. last weekend with a pole victory Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The Team Penske driver covered the 2.3-mile road course at an average speed of 117.485 mph in his Chevrolet-powered Dallara.

James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport, earned his first front-row start.

Honda-powered drivers Scott Dixon, the race runner-up at St. Petersburg, and Mike Conway will share Row 2, while Chevrolet-powered drivers JR Hildebrand and Tony Kanaan will occupy Row 3.

“Great results for the AAA Chevrolet machine,” Castroneves said. “The AAA Team Penske crew did a great job, and it will keep us in good shape. Unfortunately, we were the first ones out there because of no practice this morning. The red tires gave us a lot of bonus, so I apparently made it. We made some changes and that put us good for second qualifying. In the end, Will (Power) and some other competitors not making it was tough, but it is better to be lucky than good. (Strategist) John (Erickson), (race engineer) Ron (Ruzewski) and I were just going through the stuff and The Firestone red tires were great and have a lot of grip.”

Hinchcliffe said, “Obviously a great start for us to be on the outside of the front row. It’s my best start and it’s a great result after the way practice went yesterday and being rained out, then being fogged out this morning. We only had 14 dry laps coming into qualifying. We knew we had to take a little bit of a swing at it, and give it to the Andretti Autosport guys because that green Go Daddy guy was quick. As soon as we pulled out and we got into the Fast Six and we had only done I think one quick lap on those tires and two before the red came out. I feel sorry for Ryan (Hunter-Reay), he should have been up there too, but I knew we had good tires for the run and the pole. To miss it by half a tenth is just gutting, but it’s a great start for us.”

Qualifying Saturday for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.3 mile(s) Barber Motorsports Park, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.4768 (117.485)

2. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.5222 (117.410)

3. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.5291 (117.398)

4. (14) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.8791 (116.819)

5. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 01:11.0759 (116.495)

6. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:11.3740 (116.009)

7. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 01:11.5257 (115.763)

8. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:11.5841 (115.668)

9. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:12.0098 (114.984)

10. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:14.2839 (111.464)

11. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, No Time (No Speed)

12. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, No Time (No Speed)

13. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.6512 (117.195)

14. (8) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.5664 (117.336)

15. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.6851 (117.139)

16. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.6111 (117.262)

17. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Lotus, 01:10.7255 (117.072)

18. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.6749 (117.156)

19. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 01:11.5524 (115.719)

20. (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.7526 (117.028)

21. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 01:11.5721 (115.688)

22. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:11.3594 (116.032)

23. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Lotus, 01:12.5778 (114.084)

24. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 01:11.8672 (115.213)

25. (6) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Lotus, 01:13.6457 (112.430)

26. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Lotus, 01:13.3349 (112.907)

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 31 2012
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