Power Earns Front Row Start for Honda Indy 200
August 3, 2013LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 3, 2013) – Team Penske experienced ups and downs in qualifying Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Will Power provided the high point for the team as he qualified on the front row for Sunday’s race. The challenging result Saturday came as Helio Castroneves - the IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader - qualified in the 15th position.
Power recorded a lap of 1:05.5359 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course. He owned the second-fastest lap in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round and he will start next to pole winner Ryan Hunter-Reay on Sunday.
“I knew it was going to be hard to get the pole when Hunter-Reay was able to run on (alternate Firestone) red tires," said Power. "The Verizon Chevrolet was very good and we would like to get a win. I am able to be a little bit more aggressive since we are not in the hunt for a championship like some of the other guys (starting) around me.”
Castroneves posted a fast lap of 1:06.2280 seconds in the No. 3 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet during the first qualifying session but he was unable to advance to the second round. He’ll start inside the eighth row Sunday.
“Of course we would have loved to be on the pole," said Castroneves. "Starting 15th is not ideal when you’re going into the race as the points leader. We will need to work out a new strategy since we will start towards the rear of the field but the PPG guys are working hard to make the right changes to the car.”
Power, who has 31 pole positions in his career and two this season, was just 0.1840 behind Hunter-Reay' pole-winning lap. Saturday's result marked the third time in five races at Mid-Ohio that Power has qualified on the front row. He won poles at the track in 2010 and 2012.
“We have been able to sit on the pole a few times here at Mid-Ohio but lost out (in the race) due to pit sequence or ill falling yellows (flags)," said Power, who finished second at Mid-Ohio in 2010 and 2012. "I would definitely love to get a win here, as I have finished second here a number of times. The Verizon guys are doing everything possible in order to make that happen.”
Castroneves, who won at Mid-Ohio in 2000 and 2001, has finished among the top 10 in the last nine races, including a win at Texas and podium finishes at Milwaukee and Toronto. He will enter Sunday’s race with a 29-point lead over Scott Dixon in the IZOD IndyCar Series title chase. Dixon will start third on Sunday.
“Fortunately, today is Saturday and the race is tomorrow," added the three-time Indy 500 winner. "We’re going to try something different because what we were planning on doing tomorrow won’t work with as far back as we will have to start. We have not given up hope, tomorrow will be a long race and I know we’ll be able to make it back up.”
Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin at 3:40 p.m. Live coverage will begin at 3 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
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