Power Earns Front Row Start in Belle Isle Grand Prix

June 2, 2012

DETROIT, Mich. (June 2, 2012) – Will Power will start from the front row on Sunday as Team Penske took three of the top nine starting positions Saturday for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet recorded a fast lap of 70.3206 around the 14-turn, 2.1-mile Belle Isle street course during the Firestone Fast Six. That was just 0.0044 seconds behind the pole-winning lap of Scott Dixon and gives Power his fourth front row start of 2012.

“It’s just a full-on attack,” said Power. “The Verizon car was loose in the last segment, the Fast Six, but man, yeah it was just absolute – I don’t think there’s anywhere you push so hard because you just keep going faster the harder you push.”

Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe had a bit of an anticlimactic follow up to winning the Indianapolis 500 pole position as his qualifying session was cut short due to a blown tire. Briscoe was clocked with the eighth-best time of the day at 70.9964 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.

“Yeah just unlucky there, I’d say,” said Briscoe. “In qualifying session two we made some really good adjustments to the Hitachi car, had really good speed and we just missed out by a half a tenth (of a second).  We were going faster by about three tenths and caught something sharp on one of the tire skirts on the outside of the track where it cut the tire and that was it. Disappointing, but we are seventh and we are still in a good position to start the race.”

Castroneves, who is second behind Power in the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers’ standings after the first five races of the 2012 season, was clocked at 71.0066 in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. That effort earned him a ninth-place starting spot as he will try for his third career win at Belle Isle on Sunday.

“The No.3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car was strong today – top-10 – it was a good result for us,” said Castroneves, who captured the first of his 26 career IndyCar wins at the Belle Isle circuit in 2000. “I feel that we did have good laps out there; unfortunately it was tough to put it all together. Talking with my strategist, John Erickson, we are trying to figure out strategy heading into tomorrow and hopefully we can go from ninth to the front, that’s what we are looking for.”

Team Penske will go for its fifth win in six races tomorrow, including its fourth consecutive victory on a road/street course. Overall, Team Penske drivers have combined to win seven of the last eight road/street course races, paced by Power’s victories in eight of the last 12.

Live coverage of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix race begins Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC-TV.

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