Will Power will start Saturday night’s Firestone 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway from pole position after surviving a tough qualifying session.
Warmer than expected conditions affected the set-ups of many drivers over their two-lap dash around the 1.5-mile oval, but Power’s Penske entry seemed at ease on the banking, lapping a full 1mph faster than any other competitor.
He’ll line up alongside Josef Newgarden, who surprised himself with a front-row berth given his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing crew hadn’t enjoyed the best of preparations heading into the Friday afternoon session, with just a single practice session beforehand.
Tony Kanaan held provisional pole position until he was usurped by both Newgarden and Power; he’ll start alongside series returnee Juan Pablo Montoya, who suffered a dramatic decline in his car’s handling on his second flying lap. Nonetheless, fourth-fastest was still a great effort from the Colombian veteran.
Indy 500 pole-winner Ed Carpenter was fifth-fastest in his second oval racing hit-out of the season. He starts ahead of Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson, James Hinchcliffe and Carlos Muñoz.
Several high-profile runners struggled with the deterioration in their cars’ handling, none more than defending Texas winner Hélio Castroneves. The Brazilian’s solid practice pace seemingly evaporated, and he could do no better than fourteenth in the third Penske entry.
Also struggling were Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe, who line up immediately in front of Castroneves. Perhaps underscoring that his Detroit podium finish last weekend was little more than a flash in the pan, Graham Rahal qualified second slowest of all.
2014 IndyCar Series Texas Firestone 600 – Final Qualifying:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Avg. Speed|
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske Chevrolet||218.896mph|
|2.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda||217.835mph|
|3.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||217.826mph|
|4.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske Chevrolet||217.724mph|
|5.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet||217.677mph|
|6.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||217.222mph|
|7.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||217.128mph|
|8.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||217.007mph|
|9.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport Honda||216.967mph|
|10.||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport Honda||216.960mph|
|11.||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||216.880mph|
|12.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport Honda||216.823mph|
|13.||Ryan Briscoe||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||216.667mph|
|14.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske Chevrolet||216.591mph|
|15.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||216.151mph|
|16.||Takuma Sato||A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda||216.064mph|
|17.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport Honda||215.697mph|
|18.||Sébastien Bourdais||KV Racing Technology Honda||214.407mph|
|19.||Sebastián Saavedra||KV Racing Technology / AFS Racing Honda||214.156mph|
|20.||Jack Hawksworth||Bryan Herta Autosport Honda||214.145mph|
|21.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||213.292mph|
|22.||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||212.191mph|
Image via Fox News