Will Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion from Australia, put his No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on pole Friday for Saturday’s second annual road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis – with a record lap of 1:09.5126. This is his second Verizon Pole Position award this season, his thirty-eighth pole, and twelfth career pole on a closed road course.
The course is 2.439 miles with 14 corners. It has been universally praised by the drivers. The weather was warm and mostly overcast with a lively breeze. But the forecast for Saturday isn’t as good, with higher chances for rain.
The Fast Six were all Chevrolets: Power, Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganaassi Racing, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske, Simon Pagenaud/No.22 DeVilbiss Team Penske, and Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing.
The top ten qualifiers were Chevrolets, with all four Penske cars making the Fast Six, plus two from Ganassi Racing. There were two Honda’s in the top 15 – Jack Hawksworth/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda in P11, and winner of the inaugural New Orleans race, James Hinchcliffe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda in P13.
Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet was the top Rookie – again, qualifying tenth, his best start yet in INDYCAR. This is his first time making it into the second round of qualifying. Although he is a Rookie, this is his second start on the IMS road course. Coletti won the Formula BMW Series race at IMS in 2006.
MONTOYA – It’s cool. The pressure of one lap makes it exciting. I’m just excited to be be in the Fast Six – I think it’s my first-ever on a road course. It was good we had the open test yesterday. I mean, to be on par with my team on a road course, is pretty cool.. I’m starting to get the hang of it. I think the cars drive a lot better than they used to.”
DIXON – Definitely a nail-biting situation to get through Q3. Tried to get a bit tricky. Unfortunately it bit us because we threw Power to doing the same thing. He ran the used reds. He was able to convert it and made it through. I don’t think we had enough for Pole. Power definitely did a really good job. But obviously a really competitive grid today, with the four Penske’s in the Fast 6.
KANAAN – “We were decent. We started the weekend with big problems. Up until 25 minutes to go in the session this morning, then we finally got it together. I got to thank Scott for the setup. I was all the way back there. We finally put his setup on, we started to chase. You start the weekend a little bit behind already, when you do that. But, you know I’m pleased. We made it to the Fast 6. So I think I can go from there.”
PAGENAUD – “Interesting qualifying. Pretty Intense out there. Overall, the car was really good. It was a lot of fun. I just want to congratulate Will. He was pretty impressive how he managed his tires. Personally I’m very happy.
“The Penske setups are pretty identicalEverybody has the same thing. It’s the same team. You have access to everything. It’s complete open book. It’s actually nice. You can really go through what everybody does during a session and understand all the notes, use it to your advantage or not.”
POWER – “Just really happy to be on pole. Qualifying’s a day where you put absolutely everything on the line. It’s my favorite part of the weekend. Well, no, actually winning on Saturday or Sunday is definitely my favorite part.
“I did everything I could on new tires, not that much faster than on old tires. The old car was pretty efficient around this track. But there’s not that much difference in this new car. We used old tires in Q2 – took a chance. Took a risk. As far as the track, it’s one of the nicest we race on. Very consistent grip all the way around. No bumps. A real pleasure. I love this track, same general consistent grip. It’s a special track because of where it is. It’s the home of IndyCar. It’s setting standards.
“If it’s wet, the Hondas will definitely be a threat. They’ve got a lot of good drivers in their camp. It’s just right now they haven’t got the aero kit side of things together. I think their engine’s probably right there.
“To me I hope they bridge that gap. Obviously, I drive a Chevy, but it’s good competition. It’s more of an even playing field, which it isn’t right now. You don’t want them to close the gap completely, but I just think that makes for great competition. You see guys like Hunter-Reay, even Graham this year, a number of those guys are all really good. They should actually be in the mix. It used to be fifty-fifty in the Fast 6.
“Yeah, from being a Chevy driver, I think Chevy has done a fantastic job with the aero kit, the engine and everything. But no one wants to see a split field either. I think if rain comes, it will be a big equalizer. It will really mix things up.”