Pagenaud On Pole For Race 1 In Detroit

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 3 2016
Simon Pagenaud is on pole for the first of two race on Belle Isle.

Simon Pagenaud is on pole for the first of two race on Belle Isle.

Simon Pagenaud earned the pole position for the first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Pagenaud’s fast lap in the Fast Six, the last of three rounds of knockout qualifying on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park temporary street course, was ain 1 minute, 14.9166 seconds (112.926 mph) in the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet. He edged teammate Helio Castroneves by 0.0119 of a second.

“I knew the car would be good here because of the way it was in Long Beach (where he qualified third and won the April 17 race),” said Pagenaud, whose first of seven career Indy car wins came at Belle Isle in 2013. “Just great that we could extract the lap time out of it.

“Obviously there was a bit of strategy on our side with the Firestone tires,” he added. “We chose to go on the black Firestone tires (in the Firestone Fast Six). They’re working really well for us and it paid off, so I’m really, really delighted.”

Pagenaud, who had a three-race winning streak snapped when he finished 19th in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 29, earned his fifth career Verizon IndyCar Series pole position and third this season. The 32-year-old Frenchman hasn’t started worse than third on any road or street course in 2016. He took a 57-point championship lead into this weekend, which features the only doubleheader on the 2016 schedule.

Castroneves, a three-time Belle Isle race winner, shattered the track record in the second segment of qualifying with a top lap of 1:14.6899 (113.268 mph) in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. It was more than 1.5 seconds speedier than the old track record established a year ago by Team Penske’s Will Power, but Castroneves couldn’t match the lap in the Fast Six and will go off second in Saturday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC and INDYCAR Radio Network).

“I was supposed to do that track record on the last one, not the first one,” joked Castroneves, who earned the first of his 29 career Indy car wins on Belle Isle in 2000. “But at the end of the day, you don’t pick and choose. … At least starting on the front row is always good, so we’ll go get them tomorrow.”

Juan Pablo Montoya will start third in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet with a final-round lap of 1:15.5659 (111.955 mph). James Hinchcliffe, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter in the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, broke the Penske run up front by qualifying fourth (1:15.7708, 111.653 mph).

“It was really good to be honest with you,” Montoya said. “We actually struggled a lot this morning. You look at how fast our teammates were, I was like 13th or 15th this morning, so we pretty much changed everything on the car, and it worked well. I mean, we felt we needed to do a lot of changes, and it worked pretty well.”


| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 3 2016
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