Will Power Qualifies 5th to Lead Team Penske at Texas

June 9, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 8, 2012) – IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Will Power will start fifth Saturday in the Firestone 550 after leading Team Penske’s qualifying effort Friday at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).

The Team Penske drivers, who have a history of winning poles at TMS with Helio Castroneves in 2004 and Ryan Briscoe in 2010, were unable to earn a front row starting spot for the first time in 2012. Briscoe and Castroneves earned 12th-and 17th-place starting positions, respectively, for Saturday night’s 228 lap race.

Power recorded a two-lap average of 215.116 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile high-banked superspeedway. The three-time race winner in 2012 won last season at TMS, the second event of the dual-race format used at the venue in 2011.

"It was a tough run out there for sure, we had some hard limiter on that second lap, but I could hear other people dealing with the same issues,” said Power. “In the race I think it’s going to be about track position and with the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car starting fifth, things are looking good for us. It is going to be a fun race."

Briscoe was clocked at 214.060 mph in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet and will start 12th, tying his worst career starting position at TMS. The Indianapolis 500 pole winner will look to win his second race (2010) on the Texas oval on Saturday.

"It was a disappointing qualifying run in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car,” said Briscoe. “We just didn’t gear it right and we hit the limiter. It’s certainly not where we should be but I’m looking forward to the race. I think it’s going to be a mixed bag out there. We’ve just got to make sure we have a good race car."

Castroneves, who is currently ranked third in the championship standings, will start 17th after his two-lap average of 213.402 mph in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The three-time winner at TMS has an average finishing position of seventh in 14 career IndyCar races at the track.

“It was a very frustrating qualifying session because the No. 3 AAA Team Penske machine is better than 17th place,” said Castroneves. “We certainly will work during this last practice. We have done this before, going from the back to the front, and hopefully we can do it again.”

Live coverage of Saturday’s race begins at 8 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

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