BALTIMORE, Md. (September 3, 2011) – Will Power set the pace on Saturday for Team Penske by scoring his seventh pole position of the season in qualifying for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
Power’s pole led another outstanding qualifying performance by the team, as Ryan Briscoe secured the third starting position while Helio Castroneves will start in the No. 7 spot for Sunday’s race.
Power also scored another important point in his battle with Dario Franchitti for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Power is now 25 points behind Franchitti, who qualified fourth Saturday, with four races remaining in the 2011 season.
Power posted a fast lap of 1:20.2447 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
“The final run was absolutely everything I had in me, and it was exhausting,” said Power. “I thought it was a very tough lap. I think that securing the pole position is an advantage here because you don’t have to worry about trying to pass and since it is a street circuit there can be a lot of yellow (flags). We are going to try to lead as many laps as we can and gain the points we need for the championship. Verizon Team Penske will get a point for the pole position today, and we have to keep chipping away at it.”
Briscoe, who entered the weekend ranked fifth in the championship standings, was clocked at 1:20.7023 in the No. 6 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske Dallara/Honda. It marked his fifth consecutive top-six starting spot on Saturday.
“It was nice to have a strong qualifying session after yesterday’s performance in the practice,” said Briscoe, who had contact in Turn 5 on Friday to bring a premature end to his practice session.
“Today I focused on getting back my confidence in the car trying to drive it as deep as you need to. The car was handling really well today. After practice yesterday, I tried to base a lot of my information off of Helio and Will since they had fast cars and were really happy with what they had. The first qualifying group was a strong one and it was very competitive. I think there a couple of good cars that didn’t advance today. It is great for Guidepoint Systems and the No. 6 Team Penske car to be in the Firestone Fast Six.”
Castroneves had a lap of 1:20.8503 around the 12-turn, two-mile street course in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"This was a tough qualifying on a tough track here in Baltimore,” said Castroneves. “We had a great start yesterday in the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car, but in the second session in qualifying it was like we got one lap right and the next one not so right. I was really pushing it at the end, but we couldn't quite get the time we needed to make the top six. We know we're starting in the top 10 tomorrow and I like our race setup. I said it before – I think it's going to be a very interesting race."
Live coverage of Sunday’s race begins at 2 p.m. ET on Versus.
More information this weekend from Baltimore, please visit http://media.penskeracing.com/teampenskemedia/baltimore.