Having suffered a mix of appalling luck and indifferent form, Will Power has finally had some good fortune come his way. The Australian – hardly considered a specialist on oval circuits – has claimed pole position for Saturday night’s race at the Texas Motor Speedway with a dominant display around the 1.5-mile oval.
Power’s performance has put Team Penske in prime position to break its winless run in 2013, and given the manner in which he crushed the opposition with a two-lap average almost 2mph quicker than anyone else, the prospects look good so far.
But ovals have never been the Toowoomba-born driver’s forté, and his big threat could come from Marco Andretti. The third-generation Andretti racer has shown a red hot turn of speed at almost all venues to-date this year, and a front-row start could well be his ticket to cracking his first win of the year.
Despite his early qualifying run, Andretti actually held provisional pole until he was ultimately unseated by Power, with his effort keeping the equally-fancied likes of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Hélio Castroneves at bay.
It was a great qualifying result for the Andretti Autosport stable. Reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified third-quickest, while EJ Viso was just two spots further back and one spot behind Dario Franchitti, whose Detroit qualifying form carried over to this vastly different venue.
Indy 500 winner Kanaan was rather more disappointing. After a blistering opening lap, the KV Racing driver lost 3mph on his second tour and tumbled to an eventual fifteenth.
After its drivers had race-winning form a week ago, Dale Coyne Racing came crashing down to earth, with series returnee Pippa Mann and Justin Wilson running well off the pace and clocking the slowest times of the session.
That was at least a better result than Takuma Sato and Tristan Vautier, who were unable to demonstrate their qualifying form, with both being delayed while their mechanics fitted a new gearbox and Honda engine, respectively.
2013 IndyCar Series Firestone Texas 550 Final Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||Average Speed|
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske||219.182mph|
|2.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||217.553mph|
|3.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||217.524mph|
|4.||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||217.504mph|
|5.||E.J. Viso||Team Venzuela / Andretti||217.244mph|
|6.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||217.100mph|
|7.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||216.693mph|
|8.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||216.570mph|
|9.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||216.552mph|
|10.||James Jakes||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||216.487mph|
|11.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||216.447mph|
|12.||Simona de Silvestro||KV Racing Technology||216.396mph|
|13.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||216.248mph|
|14.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing||215.727mph|
|15.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology||215.474mph|
|16.||Alex Tagliani||Barracuda Racing||215.406mph|
|17.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing||214.839mph|
|18.||Oriol Servià||Panther Racing||214.586mph|
|19.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||213.888mph|
|20.||Sebastián Saavedra||Dragon Racing||213.217mph|
|21.||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||212.785mph|
|22.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing||207.805mph|
|23.||Tristan Vautier||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing||no time|
|24.||Takuma Sato||AJ Foyt Enterprises||no time|