LEEDS, Ala. (April 26, 2014) -- Team Penske put all three of its Chevrolets inside the first four rows -- including Will Power’s pole-winning run -- for the start of Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Power, who carried a 27-point lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings into the weekend, had the fastest lap of the day at 1:08.3120 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet during the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying session.
The winner of the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., while finishing second on April 14 at Long Beach, Calif., Power has won three of the last four Verizon IndyCar Series races dating back to last season.
“It’s going to be a tough race. When it goes green, these temperatures are going to be very physical,” said Power, who won at Barber in 2011 and 2012. “There will be a lot of traffic. I love this place. It’s an awesome track. Very technical. Got to be fast in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Got to be great. It's definitely going to be a good race.”
Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves recorded the sixth-fastest lap -- 1:08.6258 around the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The three-time Indy 500 winner will be going for his second career win at Barber on Sunday.
“I want to thank the AAA Insurance Team Penske boys,” said Castroneves. “They’ve done a hell of a job this weekend. Unfortunately, I let my boys down in qualifying. At the end of the day, it's great that we're right in the top six. It's a long race. We know we have a good setup. We’ve run well here before. We're looking forward for tomorrow.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, in just his third race since returning to IndyCar racing for the first time since 2000, posted a lap of 1:08.6453 during the second round of qualifying to narrowly miss earning a spot in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round. He will start eighth Sunday in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“We’re gaining on it,” stated Montoya. “We decided to use two sets (of red Firestone tires) in the first session to get an idea because we’ve been getting behind by not doing it. So we decided to do it and it was the right call. The problem is you pay the penalty in the second qualifying. Kind of frustrating because we’re right there. But overall, I’m happy. We’re gaining on it. I think we have a really good PPG Chevy and it’s amazing because, you know, every practice is better. Every qualifying is better.”
In his 10-year IndyCar career, Power has scored 20 of his 22 wins on temporary street circuits or road courses. He has won the IndyCar road-course championship three times. Sunday's pole position was the 33rd of his career and his third won at Barber.
“Qualifying well means a lot, especially here at Barber,” continued Power. “I’ve always taken a lot of pride in my qualifying efforts because it puts you in so much better shape when the race starts. I consider myself very fortunate that I’ve been in fast cars to be able to continue to win pole awards.”
Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET. It will be televised live by NBC Sports Network beginning at 2:30.