Power Wins Pole Position at Barber Motorsports Park
April 10, 2010
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 10, 2010) - Verizon Team Penske's Will Power earned his second consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series pole position on Saturday, leading qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park. The 29-year-old Australian driver's fourth pole in nine races with Team Penske brings him closer to a series record as he continues his red-hot start to the 2010 season.
Team Penske got off to another outstanding start Saturday with Power leading the team to three starting positions among the top nine on the grid for Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union at the picturesque Barber road course.
Power's lap of 1:10.1356 - 118.057 mph - in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda was good for his second consecutive pole. He has won the first two races of the season - at Sao Paulo, Brazil, and St. Petersburg, Fla. - and will be in position to win a third in a row on Sunday.
No driver has won three consecutive races to start an IndyCar Series season, and only three drivers - Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Kenny Brack - have won three consecutive races in the series' 15-year history.
"It was a good run today," said Power. " I have to thank Verizon Team Penske team for the second pole of the season. I just have to keep executing in the races. If we can stay up front and win tomorrow that would be great, but if we aren't in the position to do that, I just can't make mistakes. We knew we needed to qualify in the front because it is difficult to get past anyone. We are going to rely on strategy tomorrow with the tires. We expect a good crowd and hopefully a good race. The tires have been fantastic and I am looking forward to using them in the race. I think three wins a row is possible, but pretty tough to do. Regardless, we are heading in the right direction."
Teammate Helio Castroneves will start third after a fast lap of 1:10.6569 (117.186 mph) in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Barber's tight 17-turn, 2.38-mile layout doesn't offer much room for error.
"You have to take a risk to pass here, but you want to make sure you don't take yourself out or someone else out in the process," said Castroneves. "The track does produce a challenge, but I think it offers us enough room to make a solid judgment. Hopefully we'll be able to make the right move tomorrow."
Ryan Briscoe will start ninth in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda after a lap of 1:10.7602 (117.015 mph). Briscoe earned his way into the second round of qualifying but was unable to make the Firestone Fast Six final round.
"It's a little disappointing for the No. 6 Team Penske car," said Briscoe. "I just haven't been able to find a happy balance in the car. We're just trying to connect the slow corners and the fast corners and we're getting there. We have come from farther back in races and moved up front and hopefully we'll do the same on Sunday."
Power now has 10 pole positions in the top levels of open-wheel racing, and has started among the top-five in seven of his nine races with Team Penske.
"The guys I'm racing with on this team have more experience in these cars than I do," said Power. "But it's a good car, and I've got some experienced teammates around me."
Saturday's performance marks the 185th pole position in open-wheel racing for Team Penske, and the team's 378th pole position in all forms of motorsports.
Sunday's race will be televised live by Versus with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET.