FORT WORTH, TEXAS (June 6, 2014) –Team Penske geared up for Saturday night’s Firestone 600 with Will Power’s pole-winning run during qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).
Power, who leads the Verizon IndyCar Series standings and won last Saturday in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans, had the fastest lap two-lap average Friday -- 218.896 mph -- in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
Team Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya (fourth) and Helio Castroneves (14th) also put themselves in the field for Saturday’s race.
Power said his car performed well in the Texas heat, which hovered around 90 degrees during Friday’s qualifying session. This is his second Verizon P1 Pole Award of the season with his first coming at Barber Motorsports Park in April. Power will be seeking his second career win at TMS on Saturday night. The Toowoomba, Australia native now has 34 career Verizon IndyCar Series pole positions, placing him alone in sixth place on the all-time list.
"I was actually surprised by the speed on the first lap (219.550 mph) and thought 'I have to do it again,'” said Power. “It was bloody hot out there, but it’s the same conditions for everyone. We’ll deal with the heat. I'm very focused on the race. Last year, (teammate) Helio (Castroneves) was very strong so I'll try to get a Verizon Chevy that strong for the race if I can."
Juan Pablo Montoya, who has raced 16 times at TMS in NASCAR Cup Series competition, but is making his first appearance at the 1.5-mile oval in an Indy car, posted the fourth-fastest two-lap average -- 217.724 mph -- in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“I had a bit of an understeer with the Verizon Chevy, but I’m pretty happy with that lap,” stated Montoya. “Tonight’s practice session is going to be very important because the track will be the closest we’ll get to race conditions. We tested here a couple of months ago and I think we learned a lot. The weather is nowhere close to the same as it was then, but hopefully we can still apply some of the things we learned.”
Castroneves, fresh from his win Sunday in the second series race on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit, will start 14th Saturday after a two-lap average of 216.591 mph in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Castroneves is the only four-time winner at TMS in Verizon IndyCar Series history.
“The AAA Insurance Chevy is much better than where we qualified,” said Castroneves, who dominated on his way to Victory Lane in last year's race at TMS. “Our first lap was decent, but we are still going over the data to see what happened on the second lap. The Chevy power was good, so I think it’s something we can figure out pretty quickly for the practice session.”
Drivers will have one more practice session Friday evening starting at 7:45 p.m. ET.
NBC Sports Network’s live coverage of the Firestone. 600 begins at 8 p.m. ET, with the green flag scheduled for 8:50 p.m.