TORONTO, Ontario (July 7, 2012) – Will Power led the way for Team Penske on Saturday by securing a front-row starting position for the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place.
Helio Castroneves qualified eighth and Ryan Briscoe finished 14th however both see their starting positions move up on Sunday to seventh and 12th respectively due to 10-spot grid penalties issued to Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe.
Power, the IZOD IndyCar Series points leader, extended his streak to four consecutive front-row starts on the Streets of Toronto after a lap of 59.3757 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The defending series road course champion has three career podium finishes at Toronto, including wins in 2007 and 2010. On Sunday he will look to avenge his disappointing 2011 result at the venue, which ended prematurely due to contact with another car after he led the most laps in the race.
After searching for top-level speed in the practice sessions at Toronto, Power will start next to polewinner Dario Franchitti after he posted the second-fastest lap around the 11-turn, 1.75-mile street course during the Firestone Fast Six pole shootout.
“I am very happy to be second,” said Power. “I don’t know where the time came from, but it was there. I had to dig deep.”
Castroneves, who is currently fourth in the championship, was clocked at 59.5476 seconds in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet during the third qualifying session, after he just missed the Fast Six. Sunday will see Castroneves attempt to win his first race at Toronto while also chasing his second win of the 2012 season.
““Today felt pretty good, but we know that the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car is better than eighth,” said Castroneves. “There were a couple of surprises today, but we are going to keep working hard and come out tomorrow ready for a good race. There should be plenty of action which should make it interesting for both the drivers and the fans.”
Briscoe recorded a lap of 59.9888 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet during the highly-competitive second group of first-round qualifying, as he barely missed advancing to the second round. The Australian driver has three top-five finishes in 2012 and two career top-10 results in Toronto, including a runner-up finish in 2009.
“Qualifying for the Hitachi car was a bit disappointing. Going to the red compound (tires) reacted differently than we expected, which threw off our aero balance,” said Briscoe. “Qualifying Group Two was strong and unfortunately we came up one spot short. We will continue making adjustments in preparation for the race and plan on a strong finish tomorrow.”
Live coverage of Sunday’s 85-lap race begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC-TV.
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