Fast Six

DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda took the pole position for Sunday’s IZOF IndyCar race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, with his Fast Six lap of 1:07.2397. He literally grabbed it in the last gasp of the Fast Six Qualifying session, knocking out RYAN HUNTER-REAY/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, who had waited until the last two+ minutes of the ten-minute session to turn a lap. The margin between the two was 0.0015 seconds.

Franchitti said “The car felt really, really good this morning and in all three segments of qualifying. I was able to attack and that’s something I haven’t had for a while.” He admitted that he surprised even himself on his last lap, taking a risk. “That last lap just threw caution to the wind in a couple of places and I just got it. So it feels good, especially with the field as tight as it is. The field is now the best ever I’ve seen. I spent two years with JACKIE STEWART learning, and I got my knukles rapped for some of the things I did.”

The ambient temperature was 67-70F/19-21C, with the track at 121-122F/49-50C.

Dario Franchitti

This is the thirtieth pole position for the Scot, who is celebrating his 250th indycar start this weekend, and hoping to make it his second victory at Long Beach race. Franchitti, who turns 40 on Bump Day at the Indianapolis 500, has been with Ganassi for the past five years.

Franchitti started the Fast Six session on the Black/Primary tires, as did TAKUMA SATO/A.J. Foyt Enterprise Honda. The two drivers did swap out Blacks for Reds/Option tires part way through the session, and in Franchitti’s case, it was a set of used Options. Both drivers said the reason was for a ‘checkup’ lap on the blacks and in case there might be a Red Flag later in the short session. The new IndyCar rules call for no limitations on how the teams choose to use their allotted number of Firestone tires.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS of France still holds the Qualifying Record on the current track configuration, at 1:06.886/105.924 mph. Fastest lap this weekend was set by another Frenchman, SIMON PAGENAUD/Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda, in the third practice session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti
Takuma Sato
Takuma Sato
Will Power
Will Power
Helio Castroneves, with Adrian Fernandez
Helio Castroneves, with Adrian Fernandez
Mike Conway
Mike Conway

Third through sixth were WILL POWER/Team Penske Chevrolet, Sato, MIKE CONWAY/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, and HELIO CASTRONEVES/Team Penske Chevrolet. Sato is the only one not having a victory at Long Beach … yet.

The whole Verizon P1 Qualifying session was full of drama – faster and faster laps one after another, in all four separate qualifying sessions, crashes, penalties assessed, penalties rescinded, and a literally last gasp recovery for the pole position.

For the Fast Six, the fourth and final of the Qualifying sessions, all previous times were erased, and the drivers started all over. The ten minutes were full of surprises, with each driver going faster every lap, for eight different leaders – Castroneves, Sato, Franchitti, Conway, Franchitti, RHR, and Franchitti. Power was the only driver not to lead a lap.

In Group One, DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was the fastest of thirteen drivers, with a time of 1:07.2356. All the drivers went out on Red/Option tires. JUSTIN WILSON/Dale Coyne Racing hit the wall on his out lap, after his crew had worked hard to adjust his rear wing to comply with IICS rules. Other leaders in the group before Franchitti were TONY KANAAN/KV Racing Technology/Chevrolet, JAMES JAKES/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, and Conway, Sato, and back to Franchitti.

In Group Two, Power ended up fastest with a lap of 1:07.5461. SCOTT DIXON got out of shape coming hot into Turn One, spun and stalled center course. ORIOL SERVIA/Panther DRR Chevrolet came around and hit the tire wall evasive, rather than hit Dixon. Servia was helped by Safety Crew and restarted, continuing noseless to the pits. For his good deed to Dixon, Servia was dropped to last place on the grid. Dixon had already continued on course, but was penalized for causing the Red Flag, dropping him from Segment Two P6, down to P26, losing his eligibility to continue to Segment 3.

Dixon’s move from P6 elevated MARCO ANDRETTI/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet. Then the Stewards reviewed an incident with J.R. HILDEBRAND/Panther Racing Chevrolet, and Andretti was penalized for Qualifying Interference. So ANDRETTI dropped to P24 and JR inherited Segment Two P6 and moved into Segment Three. Got all that? It’s not over. Stay tuned. Test at the end.

Segment Two saw the top six from the two qualifying groups compete. All but GRAHAM RAHAL/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Raching Honda went out on Reds.

Back to penalties. It was announced during the P1 Media Conference that the Stewards had rescinded Servia’s penalty, moving him from almost last, back up to P18. Dixon will start last, behind Andretti. Wilson, who did not turn a lap, will start P25.

Sundays race is five lap shorter. RHR said “I haven’t even started talking about that, really. I haven’t even thought about it. It will just make it that you can go harder the whole race. You’ve got five laps less. It’s going to be an easy two stops, and we should see everybody going 100%. So there’s always the upside to saving a little bit of fuel and having shorter pit stops, so you never get away from that. So should make things a little more interesting.”

IndyCar has a half-hour Warm-Up at 9am PDT/noon EDT. The live TV coverage on NBCSN starts at 1pm PDT/4pm EDT, with the Green Flag dropping at 1:45pm/4:45pm.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968 mile(s) Streets of Long Beach, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.2379 (105.369)
2. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.2934 (105.282)
3. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.3987 (105.118)
4. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.4472 (105.042)
5. (17) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.5994 (104.806)
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.9698 (104.235)
7. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.4358 (105.060)
8. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.5891 (104.822)
9. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.6306 (104.757)
10. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.7209 (104.618)
11. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.7799 (104.527)
12. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.7902 (104.511)
13. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.9185 (104.313)
14. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.2001 (103.883)
15. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 01:07.9823 (104.215)
16. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 01:08.2579 (103.795)
17. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:07.9979 (104.191)
18. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.2889 (103.747)
19. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 01:08.1512 (103.957)
20. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.3173 (103.704)
21. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.4404 (103.518)
22. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 01:08.6431 (103.212)
23. (18) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.9133 (101.337)
24. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.0318 (102.631)
25. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, No Time (No Speed)
26. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.4506 (102.012)
27. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.6706 (101.690)

Last Modified on April 20, 2013
This entry was posted in IndyCar
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