Power Qualifies Second to Lead Team Penske at Edmonton
July 23, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 23, 2011) – Will Power led Team Penske's strong qualifying performance Saturday by landing the second starting position for Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series Edmonton Indy.
All three Team Penske drivers will start in the top nine, as Ryan Briscoe qualified sixth and Helio Castroneves earned a ninth-place starting spot.
In the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round, Power recorded a lap of 1:18.5674 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. His lap around the newly-designed 13-turn, 2.25-mile circuit at City Centre Airport gave Power his sixth front-row starting position in 11 events in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Unfortunately, Power saw his impressive streak of eight straight poles won on road or street course circuits come to an end on Saturday. Power enters Sunday's race trailing Dario Franchitti by 55 points in the series championship standings.
"The Verizon car was quick today," said Power, who won at Edmonton in 2009 and earned the pole at City Centre Airport in 2007, 2009 and 2010. "I think we had a pole car. We just didn't get the lap we needed when we needed it. I was pushing hard out there. I actually brushed the wall. We have a good race car. Front row is good place to start here in Edmonton, as long as we stay out of trouble tomorrow, we should be in good shape."
Meanwhile, Briscoe locked down the sixth starting spot by posting a lap of 1:19.0267 in the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental car. The result marked Briscoe's fourth top-six qualifying performance this season.
"It's a technical circuit and pretty intense," said Briscoe, winner of the pole at Edmonton in 2008. "It's not easy to piece together a solid lap; there are bumps and different surfaces. And so much time can be gained by braking late, but it's so easy to mess up the braking zones. I love learning new tracks, and I think everyone involved has done an amazing job on this circuit for the drivers and spectators. I was able to get a good lap in Q2 that got us into the top six, but we need to do some work to get better. We need to improve the balance of the Penske Truck Rental car for the race, but this was a really good start to the weekend for us."
Castroneves was clocked at 1:18.7669 during the second round of qualifying in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda and will start ninth. The three-time Indy 500 champion has earned top-10 starting spots in all four of his career races at Edmonton.
"We were hoping to make it into the Firestone Fast Six in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car," said Castroneves. "Unfortunately, we wound up about where we have been averaging in qualifying. The car is good, but we just got a little loose through Turns 6, 7 and 8. We need to work a little bit tonight on that and try to make the braking a little better for me in the race tomorrow, as well. I know the Team Penske guys will be ready for the green flag."
Sunday's live coverage of the Edmonton Indy will begin at 2 pm ET on Versus.