Power Claims Fourth Straight Pole to Start the Season
May 1, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
SAO PAULO, Brazil (April 30, 2011) – Led by Will Power's historic fourth pole position to start the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season, Team Penske's three drivers will start from the first four rows of Sunday's Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
Power's lap of 1:21.896 Saturday in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda was the 200th pole position in the history of Team Penske's Indy car operation and the 20th of the his Indy car career. His two teammates weren't far behind – Ryan Briscoe will start fourth on Sunday, while Sao Paulo native Helio Castroneves will start seventh.
Power's dominance in qualifying dates to his joining Team Penske in 2009. Since then, he's won the pole position in 14 of his 27 races, including all four this season as he continues to extend his own streak for the team. Power has also now won the pole in 11 of his last 13 road or street course races.
"The No. 12 Verizon car was really good today," said Power, who won at Sao Paulo in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season opener, after starting from the fifth position. "We were pretty comfortable today, the car was quick in every session. The pole is a great place to start here. Now we just need to go out and have strong result tomorrow. As long as we can stay out of trouble, we should be in good shape."
Meanwhile, Briscoe earned a second-row start with a lap of 1:22.394 around the 11-turn, 2.6-mile street course in the No. 6 Penske Logistics Dallara/Honda.
"It was a good day for the yellow Penske Logistics car," said Briscoe. "What an awesome effort by all my guys – they came in late (due to travel problems from the U.S.) and they were rushed to get ready for the first practice this morning. We came out with a really good setup right away, and the car is definitely fast. I have to say I'm really impressed with the circuit here in Sao Paulo. They did a great job repaving the surface, and I think it's going to be a really exciting race tomorrow."
Castroneves will start inside the fourth row after posting his top lap of 1:22.628 in the No. 3 Itaipava Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"It's a shame we didn't make it into the top six in qualifying in the Itaipava Team Penske car," said Castroneves. "We pushed really hard, but it just didn't work for us. We were three tenths of a second off the sixth-fastest time, and I think if we could have gotten more of a draft we would have put ourselves in a better position, but we gave it our best. Starting seventh tomorrow isn't too bad. Maybe it will be my 'Lucky 7' this weekend."
For Power, he was proud to be the one to capture pole number 200 for Roger Penske's legendary open-wheel racing team. "That's an incredible record -200 poles," said Power. "It's just such an honor to drive for this team and for Roger. I hope I'm around for a lot more poles and wins, and hopefully championships."
Coverage of Sunday's 75-lap Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET on Versus.