Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti

MARCO ANDRETTI/No.26 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet has the IZOD Indy Car pole position for Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 race at Auto Club Speedway. His hot lap, literally and figuratively, was 216.069 MPH. He said he decided to just go flat out – and he did on his first flying lap. Andretti is one of twelve drivers still running the fifth/final engine. His last engine change was at the Baltimore race.

This is Andretti’s second pole position – the last being in 2008. His goal is to run, to win Saturday’s race, and get a good head start on the 2013. He admitted to sandbagging during Practice so he wouldn’t stick it in the wall, which would be a risk if he went flat out.

Will Power & Ryan Hunter-Reay
Will Power & Ryan Hunter-Reay

Points leader, WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Racing Chevrolet, qualified third, behind his teammate, RYAN BRISCOE. Right after Qualifying Power spoke of the track’s bumpiness, the whole track, especially the back straight (where he crashed at the end of Wednesday night’s test session.)

In the post-qualifying Media Conference, Power and RHR were interviewed together, and both agreed on one thing – they each wanted to beat the other for the championship. Also, for them the track was always changing. Power said the track was different than the test two days ago.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, who qualified seventeenth, joked that with his penalty of ten grid positions he’ll be starting “out of the park.” But seriously folks, “I was the one of the first team cars, had a massive imbalance that they learned from. That’s the downside of going first.”

Fourth and fifth fastest were Rookie JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda and SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Briscoe said “At night the cars are different. When the sun sets behind the grandstands, the cars come to life. He said he never saw so many different racing lines as in the night test. “It won’t be pack racing. It will be more exciting than any oval race this year.”

EJ Viso's Car
EJ Viso’s Car

E.J. VISO/No.5 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet tweeted after Qualifying that “If more downforce is not fitted for this race I’m not racing.” His team-provided quotes, distributed later, said. ““We didn’t really plan on being fast in qualifying. We went out with a very safe setup. I don’t feel comfortable on this track. It is extremely bumpy and irregular. I feel that the drivers are extremely exposed and I don’t blame Mike Conway for deciding not to race here. It is going to be a long race and we are just focused on have a very stable platform. That is all that really matters. You just have to hang in there and finish the race. It is going to be very challenging. If the series doesn’t decide to add more downforce I won’t race. It’s tough to understand where the challenge ends and the stupidity begins.”

There are no team comments on Viso’s remarks, according to a team spokesman. Viso “had just left, and his comments speak for itself.”

The ambient temperature was 102 degrees F.

A very few brave souls ventured out in the Southern California heat, and those hardy souls were all underneath the grandstand overhang.

Saturday’s race starts at 5:50pm local time.


FONTANA, Calif. – Qualifying Friday for the MAVTV 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and speed:
1. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 216.069
2. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 216.058
3. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 215.940
4. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 215.919
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 215.391
6. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 215.226
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 214.877
8. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 214.749
9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 214.684
10. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 214.409
11. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 214.015
12. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 213.726
13. (8) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 213.527
14. (6) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Chevy, 213.308
15. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 213.282
16. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 213.222
17. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 212.773
18. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 212.533
19. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 211.999
20. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 211.531
21. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 210.619
22. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 210.134
23. (14) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Honda, 209.526
24. (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 208.056
25. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, No speed
26. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, No speed