IndyCar Grand Prix Qualifying

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The last time I watched knockout qualifying in person was at Barber Motorsports Park in April. There were no surprises at all. Today was no different. The only mild surprise was that Sébastien Bourdais pit his wrecked car from Phoenix in the Firestone Fast Six. He and Scott Dixon were the only two Honda representatives in the Fast Six.

 

Coincidentally, they were also the only two non-Penske drivers in the final round. With Juan Montoya in this race, there were five chances for Team Penske to get into the Fast Six. The only one that didn’t make it into the final round was points leader and last year’s winner Simon Pagenaud.

The final round produced little suspense, except when Will Power set an IMS road course record with a time of 1:07.7044. No one else had anything for him as he wrapped up the fifth pole this season for Team Penske. Helio Castroneves will share the front row with his teammate with a time of 1:08.1169 – almost half a second slower.

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Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon will make up the second row and Montoya and Bourdais rounded out the Top-Six.

Marco Andretti teased us by getting out of the first round in forever, but he will start eleventh, right next to Tony Kanaan who will start twelfth. Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe make up seventh through tenth respectively.

Graham Rahal continues to struggle in qualifying this season. He will start twentieth, just in front of JR Hildebrand and Takuma Sato who is starting last.

Like the last couple of races, regardless of manufacturer – Team Penske seems to be on another planet from everyone else. Honda actually had a decent showing compared to the other Chevy non-Penske teams. The two Foyt cars of Carlos Muñoz and Conor Daly will start eighteenth and fifteenth respectively. Spencer Pigot will start sixteenth for Ed Carpenter, while Hildebrand starts twenty-first. So it wasn’t that the Hondas had nothing for Team Penske; it was that nobody had anything for Team Penske.

While Power looked untouchable in qualifying, I’m still thinking that Josef Newgarden is going t come away with the win tomorrow.

That’s going to do it for today. I went to the museum this afternoon and  will have a write up on that visit tomorrow. There is an IndyCar warm up tomorrow morning at 11:00 and then the green flag for the IndyCar Grand Prix will fly at 3:50, with ABC coverage starting at 3:30.

I’m hoping we can get here early tomorrow. There is a full day of racing starting with the second Pro Mazda race at 8:15 and culminating with the 85-lap Verizon IndyCar Series race.

Check back tomorrow early and often.

George Phillips

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One Response to “IndyCar Grand Prix Qualifying”

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