Will Power P1 In Texas
Will Power drove the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet, recorded a two-lap average speed of 219.182 mph on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval to earn the Verizon P1 Award.
That speed was more than 3.5 mph faster than Alex Tagliani’s 2012 pole-winning speed in the first year of the new chassis-engine package. Power had a best lap of 219.298 mph — fastest of the 22 drivers to make a qualifying attempt.
“The race car has been pretty good,” said Power, whose 31st career pole tied Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Bourdais for seventh on the all-time Indy car list. “We were wide open, trimmed out enough, the gears were right. Last year we thought we should have been on the pole but we got it right this time.”
Five different drivers have earned pole starts in eight races this season, and six different drivers representing five teams have won races. Power, who has recorded 14 of his 18 career victories in the past three seasons, hasn’t been among the latter though he’s claimed two Verizon P1 Awards.
“It’s going to be an interesting race,” Power said. I think the downforce level I’ve got is about right for good racing, because I think some cars are a lot more than others, and if you happen to put new tires on the last restart and no one else does, you can go in the front. So it creates some interesting situations, and hopefully we’re at the front of all that.”
There have been 18 race winners in the 24 IZOD IndyCar Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, and there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner in the past seven years.
“Before (the new chassis-engine package) you were just a passenger. Now you actually have to drive the thing. Before you were just wide open and hope for the best and hopefully your car was fast. Now you have to drive it. So it’s how it should be. It should be about talent.”
Marco Andretti, who’s tied with Helio Castroneves for the top in the championship standings, earned his best start in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway with a two-lap average of 217.553 mph for second in the No. 25 RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport.
“I’m pleased with our front row,” Andretti said. “Good job by the guys because our focus wasn’t even on qualifying. I’m pleased just like I was at Indy (qualified third) because it was the same focus at Indy. The first lap, I think we had an overboost, so we lost a mile-per-hour, which I was hoping it wasn’t going to cost me more than it did. Will went for it, and he got benefited for it so good job to him.”
Reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (217.524) and Franchitti (217.504) will share Row 2. E.J. Viso (217.244), the first qualifier, and Castroneves (217.100) will share Row 3. Josef Newgarden qualified a season-high seventh.
Takuma Sato (gearbox) and rookie Tristan Vautier (unapproved engine change that will result in a 10-grid spot penalty) did not make qualifying attempts of the 24 entrants.
“We have an engine change to do and our qualifying would have been compromised because of that, so we just decided it was best not to go out,” Vautier said. “We’re short on tires too so it just made more sense for us today. The car is very tricky to drive here, but it’s the same way for everyone with the new tires. There’s very little downforce, which makes things very difficult and showcases driver talent. I know I have a lot of work to do because I’m not used to driving these high speeds on the edge.”
The Chevrolet-powered No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva car driven by Simona De Silvestro for KV Racing Technology also has been assessed a 10-grid spot penalty for unapproved engine following Race 2 at Belle Isle on June 2.
Rule 126.96.36.199 regarding in-race failure was violated: The engine manufacturer must inform its INDYCAR engine support engineer of the engine failure within five hours of the end of the race.
Chevrolet engineers checked the engine after De Silvestro made hard contact with the Turn 8 wall early in the 70-lap race, but upon further review found an issue that required the engine to be changed. She qualified 12th.
Qualifying Friday for the Firestone 550 IZOD INDYCAR Series event on the 1.455-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and speed:
1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.182
2. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 217.553
3. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 217.524
4. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 217.504
5. (5) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 217.244
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 217.100
7. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 216.693
8. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 216.570
9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 216.552
10. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 216.487
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 216.447
12. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 216.396
13. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 216.248
14. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 215.727
15. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 215.474
16. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 215.406
17. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 214.839
18. (4) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 214.586
19. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 213.888
20. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 213.217
21. (18) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, 212.785
22. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 207.807
23. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, no speed
24. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, no speedNo Comment