Power Qualifies Second to Lead Penske Racing Trio at Toronto
July 11, 2009
In just his fourth race this season with the team, Power produced his second front-row starting position as he earned the outside pole after posting the second-fastest lap during Firestone Fast Six qualifying Saturday for the Honda Indy Toronto.
Power's fastest lap of 1:01.2851 (an average speed of 103.092 mph) in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dallara/Honda was just a fraction behind pole winner Dario Franchitti at the IndyCar Series street course race at Toronto's Exhibition Place. It marks the third time in just four events this season that Power has started among the top six.
"My crew just walked in this weekend; the first time they've been back since May and same with me," said Power, who last competed for the team at the Indy 500. "They did a fantastic job. We're really happy to be second. We would have been a lot happier with first, but second is great."
His Penske Racing teammates weren't far behind and will work hard to join him up front during Sunday's race around the 1.755-mile, 11-turn circuit. Helio Castroneves will start 10th in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda after posting a lap of 1:01.7954 during the second qualifying session, while Ryan Briscoe will start 11th after recording a lap of 1:01.8575 in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
Castroneves said he had trouble getting a clear, traffic-free lap when he was at his fastest in the second qualifying session. Still, he knows his team will be strong in Sunday's 85-lap race.
"Unfortunately I got caught in a lot of traffic," said Castroneves. "I lost about three laps there because of traffic in front of me. This is a tough street circuit. We have some different drivers and teams in the Fast Six, so it should be interesting tomorrow in the race. Team Penske will be ready, and we will go for it on Sunday."
Briscoe, who is ranked third in the IndyCar Series drivers' standings heading into the race, said he struggled to find grip in the second round of qualifying.
"It's tough out there," Briscoe said. "I just had a difficult time finding the balance on the Team Penske car. It was tough to get the tires to come in, and I just couldn't get enough grip. We're starting farther back than we'd like, but we'll just have to work a bit harder in the race tomorrow and work our way through the field."
Power won the pole position in April for the Grand Prix of Long Beach and competing on the same Toronto circuit where he won in the Champ Car World Series in 2007, the 28-year-old racer is looking forward to Sunday after the stellar job all weekend by the No. 12 team.
"The car has been good since we rolled it off the trailer and the same at Long Beach," added Power. "I'm just doing my job."
Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto begins at 1 p.m. ET and will be televised live by ABC-TV.