DETROIT (May 29, 2015) – Will Power set the qualifying lap track record on the way to earning the Verizon P1 Award for Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.
Power, who also set the track record in the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg with the new Chevrolet road/street aerodynamic bodywork package, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 16.0941 seconds on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn street circuit in the Firestone Fast Six session.
Click HERE to view and download the official qualifying results for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #1.
Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves (1:16.1200) and recently-crowned Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya (1:16.4428) qualified second and third, respectively, in the three-round knockout qualifications for the 70-lap race May 30 (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC).
Takuma Sato, who qualified a season-high fourth (1:16.5363) in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda, held the previous track record of 1:16.1371 – which he set in 2014. Simon Pagenaud, the fourth Team Penske entry in the Firestone Fast Six, qualified fifth (1:16.6656) and Sebastien Bourdais of KVSH Racing reached the final round for the second time this season and will start sixth (1:17.0406) for the third time this season.
It was the 39th career Indy car pole for Power, one behind Team Penske consultant Rick Mears for fifth on the all-time list. His previous best qualifying position at Belle Isle was second in 2012.
“I had new tires and was pushing hard (on his final lap) because they said Helio and Juan were pretty close,” said Power, who will mark his 100th Indy car start with Team Penske in Race 2 on May 31 (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC). “It’s the pole but it’s a long race around here. Once again, it’s about battling the teammates around here as we have all year. It’s been a great weekend and a really good start. We will try and keep ourselves out of trouble and see what magic we can do tomorrow.”
Power won Race 1 and was runner-up to Castroneves in Race 2 last year on Belle Isle, which provided a significant points boost to his championship aspirations. He ultimately won the title that season.
Castroneves, who has won three times at Belle Isle, and Pagenaud have competed in the Firestone Fast Six in all five road/street course races (the starting grid for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana in mid-April was set by entrant points because of heavy rain in the knockout qualifications).
“The most important thing is the race. It was a good battle between me, Will and the rest of Team Penske,” Castroneves said. “Let’s go for tomorrow and see what happens.”
Scott Dixon (1:16.9768) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet qualified seventh, and Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Stefano Coletti (1:17.3638) qualified a season-high eighth in the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.
Tony Kanaan, who turned the quickest lap of 1:16.2931 in the 75-minute morning practice session in the No. 10 Taylor Swift Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet, did not advance out of Segment 1 and qualified 15th.
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Verizon P1 Award Winner):“Yeah, it’s the pole but it’s a long race around here. Once again it’s about battling the teammates around here and we have all year. It’s been a great weekend and a really good start. We will try and keep ourselves out of trouble and see what magic we can dotomorrow. I had new tires so I was pushing hard. Then they said Helio and Juan were pretty close. I made a couple of mistakes and the car was pretty loose. But overall it’s a fantastic job and a good start to the weekend.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We had a decent practice. Just really couldn’t put a good lap together because so many red flags and stuff. In qualifying we made a couple changes. We made it a little better, but it wasn’t as good as we wanted it. Good thing we got a practice tomorrow. To tell you the truth, you probably hear other people complain about the bumpiness of the track. But it reminds me of ’99, 2000, street course, a lot of personality. There’s a couple good bumps. Makes it a little tricky. Has a lot of character. Last corner, man, it’s fast. Way too fast. I think track position is important. If it’s going to be wet, being up front is going to help.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Hitachi Penske car was really good actually. We used new tires in the second stint and (Will Power) didn’t, so they used new tires on the third round and we didn’t. So that’s how amazing our car was. That’s why I’m so happy. For being that close with tires that already had a run on them, it was absolutely amazing. The Hitachi boys did an awesome job. I wanted that pole position pretty badly, so let’s go for the race tomorrow. The most important thing is the race. It was a good battle today between me, Will and the rest of Team Penske. Let’s go for tomorrow and see what happens.”
STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I am really happy with my qualifying result today. We made a few mistakes in the first session, but in the second round after we put on the second set of tires we were pretty quick and I ended up securing my best start. I have never been on a track like this. It’s very bumpy and pretty difficult to drive when it gets hot like this, but everyone is dealing with the same issues. The team has done a great job setting up my car for this weekend and I’m looking forward to trying to pick up a few more positions in the race tomorrow.”
CONOR DALY (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “I was actually much happier this time than my last time on reds in Long Beach. We were really close to making it in and I think we were definitely in the more stout group. I lost a little time from a bit of wheel spin in the middle sector of the track out of Turn 7, so that would’ve put us very close to being in, which is nice. Obviously, we’re not as high up as we’d like to be but it’s only my second time qualifying these cars on a street course so I’m trying to look at the positives.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was a pretty good day, really. We were the third quickest Honda. I think we left a little bit on the table – got obstructed a little bit in our session – we wanted to try a few things and weren’t able to. Obviously though, this was our best qualifying of the year. It’s a track that I like and I’ve had a bit of success around here so I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. I think we’ve got a good No. 7 SPM MediaTech Honda, and with the weather coming in like it is, the closer you can start to the front, the better.”
SAGE KARAM (No. 8 COMFORT REVOLUTION / Big Machine Records Chevrolet):“We had a great car this morning and the COMFORT REVOLUTION/Big Machine Records team was really on it. We took a big swing at some changes in the afternoon qualifying session that just ended up being in the wrong direction, unfortunately. I locked up the tires in qualifying and that slowed us down. There is still a lot of speed in the car and we’ll continue to work on it tomorrow for Qualifying 2 and the race.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “There are a lot of tough challenges with the Detroit track. The surface is very bumpy and the Target car just wants to plow with understeer in Turn 3. On our last run we had the No. 3 car back us up on our fast laps in the last few corners. Overall it’s very close out there and I don’t think we had enough for pole today, but maybe the top six if we weren’t held up. We’ll work hard tonight to try and figure the car out and get it better for tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Taylor Swift Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “I’m really frustrated with our qualifying run. We were up front in the first practice session and the car felt really good, and then we turn around in qualifying and don’t even make it out of the first round. I think we’re all just kind of scratching our heads trying to figure out what happened between this morning’s session and this afternoon’s qualifying rounds. We definitely have some work to do tonight with the car and thinking about the best strategy for tomorrow, but I have complete confidence in the team to make sure we’re ready to go tomorrow afternoon.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Chevrolet): “Obviously, I am very happy that the Mistic E-Cigs Circle K machine made it to the Firestone Fast Six. However, at the same time I’m a little baffled by being a second off the pace. It was a pretty big step up from last year, on what was our most difficult weekend on a street or road circuit pace-wise. We tried a lot of things here last year, but could never get it right. This year, we unloaded a car that seemed to be much more on par with the opposition. It was strong on a green track, but as the grip came up we struggle to get grip and balance. So, we will take a look at the data tonight and see what changes we want to make for tomorrow.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Nice to be squeezing into the top six with the Chevrolet’s dominance. We’ve been there. St. Petersburg we were top six. It’s not impossible. (Ryan) Hunter-Reay had a really good qualifying at Long Beach. Once the car got everything together, seems like we’re able to compete with the highest level. The window is very narrow for our package, so it’s very difficult to manage. I think here as it is so bumpy, you’re never going to get the consistent cornering anyway. I had quite a good feeling from last year. So pleased to put everything together. The No. 14 car worked well, and the crew. Honda Performance Development, Honda, put everything they can. Obviously we made some changes for the front wing for this Grand Prix for the safety reason. One nice thing that we don’t have to worry about is too much configuration on the front wing. Very simple, up and down front flap. I think it made it okay. Certainly for the race situation, I think we may be better.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “I’m pretty disappointed with qualifying. The team has been doing such a great job and we’ve been so competitive everywhere and when we got on track this morning, the car just felt like it was off and that carried through to qualifying. We’re going to have to make some changes for the morning practice, but hopefully we can make the right changes, head in the right direction and have a good day tomorrow. Starting 13th isn’t the worst thing we’ve ever done, but it’s certainly not the best. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Hopefully we can get the Steak ‘n Shake car up there. It would be slippery for sure in the rain here but it’s the same for everybody. I would feel pretty good about it if it rained. I feel like I could make up some positions, but we’re just going to have to see what tomorrow brings.”
LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “We had much more potential than what our starting position reflects. We probably took the new tires at the wrong moment and I couldn’t find myself the right gap. It was a timing problem where I couldn’t put down as quick of a lap as we were capable of. Unfortunately we will have to start from the back and will have to work a lot to move forward to get a good result.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet):“First win in IndyCar is always an important thing. It’s always cool to come back here, now driving for Team Penske. It’s our home event. Yeah, it’s a really cool event for us. Obviously it’s great to be showing so well with all four cars. … I like it. I like the dual. It’s fun. It’s good for the fans to race twice. It gives us a little bit of a rest, too, to qualify today, race tomorrow.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “Another really disappointing day… In qualifying, the red flag really affected us. I don’t know how good we would have been (if the red flag did not come out), but we definitely weren’t able to advance any more positions because of it. Tomorrow is the first race. We’ll see how the weather is as right now it’s not looking great, but here in Detroit, the strategy counts a lot.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Merchant First / Snapple Honda): “We aren’t bad… Sort of struggling for grip with both ends (of the car). We needed to set our fast time on Lap 2, but we were held up in traffic – blocked. By the time we were able to push, the tires were too worn out for what we needed. Aggravating to start ninth when you know that you should be a little higher up.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We had it. We were in (a position to advance). We made some good progress working with our teammate Marco (Andretti) on the set up and we finally found something. We made some good progress with the DHL Honda, it made the car good. We were on a fast lap and set to advance when the red flag came out for (Josef) Newgarden and (the lap) was taken away. It’s just frustrating – kind of the way it’s been going for us, even when we do make some positive gains there’s a setback.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I just hit the wall. It’s one of those street course errors that you can make. Obviously the car was good. I hate to do that to the team when we had a quick car. It’s a shame for today, hopefully we can get it patched up real quick and get the CFH car back on-track as good as it was. We will be all right for tomorrow. We had a strong car and the team’s solid. We just have to do a better job of keeping it off the walls.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): “Obviously I’m disappointed that the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet wasn’t able to transfer, but we were so close to moving into that next round. We really struggled this morning in practice and I just didn’t get the job done in qualifying. Belle Isle is just a tough track and it’s really challenging for me. At the same time the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team guys gave me the car I needed, but we just weren’t able to get it done. I think we might’ve been a little better prepared for more grip, but after the rain washed away a lot of that grip we just couldn’t get the lap times we needed.”