Qualifying Report: Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix
PHOENIX—With difficult conditions in practice – 40mph gusty winds and sand blowing on the one mile Phoenix International Raceway oval—the ABC Supply team took a conservative approach to tonight’s qualifying session.
As it turned out, it may have been too conservative.
Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly will start side-by-side in row 10 for tomorrow night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.
Both drivers improved their speed from practice into qualifying by 3 mph. Munoz, who was 14th quick in practice with a speed of 186.378 mph, posted a two-lap average of 189.301mph which was 19th quickest. Daly‘s quickest lap in practice was 185.124 mph (18th quickest) and he turned a lap speed of 188.536 mph in qualifying which placed him 20th on the grid.
“I’m disappointed in qualifying,” Munoz said. “I’m not sure what happened. The balance wasn’t there on the first lap. On the second lap I was pretty good but there was so much difference between the first and second laps speed-wise that it cost us some positions I think. But we’ll see what we’ve got and go from there.”
Daly said his car was too comfortable during his run: “We were pretty stuck – we had way too much downforce. It was very comfortable—still had too much understeer. But it was just too much downforce—I was flat as soon as I got into Turn 1. It was easy—too easy. It’s a shame.”
Helio Castroneves won the pole for the second straight year here with an average speed of 194.905 mph. Second through fifth were: Will Power, J.R. Hildebrand, Joseph Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.
The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network tomorrow night starting at 9 p.m. ET