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Qualifying Report: Iowa Corn 300

NEWTON, Iowa July 9, 2016— For the second time this season, Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will start side-by-side in their ABC Supply Hondas. Under sunny skies, Sato qualified 13th in the No. 14 and Hawksworth 14th in the No. 41; the pair will start in row seven for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. In the season opener at St. Petersburg, they started in the fifth row.

Both teams tested at the 0.894-mile banked oval last month which helped when the drivers were not satisfied with their cars in the morning practice today. They were able to make some adjustments for the hotter track conditions and picked up speed in qualifying. Sato posted a two-lap average speed of 181.949mph while Hawksworth was just a tick slower, averaging 181.700mph for the two laps.

“Iowa qualifying is always exciting especially the bumps in Turn 3,” said Sato, who managed them better than most who ventured to take that line. “We didn’t have a good practice session today but the testing we had last week helped us to understand where the car needs to be for qualifying. At the time when I had attacked we were fifth out—it felt pretty good. I was happy with the balance and the speed and it all looked pretty strong at the time. In the end, the field is pretty tight and I’m not super happy with our position but we have a better car in race trim so we’ll see in the final warmup.”

Hawksworth said, “Interesting qualifying. I thought we were ok this afternoon compared to this morning when we were a bit weak in qualifying trim. They changed some bits and pieces and it was where we were at the test in terms of feeling which I liked. We had too much understeer in the car and too much scrub in our run, which probably hurt us a little bit but the good thing is we got the feeling back with the rear which I had at the test. Hopefully we can put that into the race car and do some more work tonight.”

Simon Pagenaud won the Verizon P1 Award with an average speed of 185.855mph. It was the 500th pole for Team Penske (which includes his NASCAR and sports car teams as well). Starting second through fifth are Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.

The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network Sunday afternoon starting at 5:00 p.m. ET.