FT. WORTH (June 8, 2012) - Will Power led the way for Chevrolet in qualifying for Saturday night’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway. His two-lap average of 215.116 m.p.h./48.6992 seconds, only 0.5 mph and 0.13 second behind the pole setting average speed and time, landed the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 in the fifth starting position for the 228-lap race. Power, the IZOD IndyCar Series points leader has qualified in the top-five, including two poles, for six of the seven races so far in 2012.
Three additional Chevy drivers secured top-10 starting positions for tomorrow night’s race: James Hinchcliffe, No, 27 GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, will start sixth; Tony Kanaan, No. 11 MOUSER Electronics/GEICO KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, scored the seventh starting position and Marco Andretti, No. 26 Team RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, will roll off ninth in the 25-car field. A total of 13 Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 drivers will take the green flag to race under the lights on the 1.5-mile tri-oval.
CHEVROLET INDYCAR V-6 DRIVER QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: “I couldn’t believe the speed. Definitely happy with that. Chevy is doing a great job. The race is definitely going to be different than normal. The cars have lost a little downforce and are moving around a lot. I think that is kind of what we’re looking for. You can’t hold the while line like you used to be able to. You have to take a full race line. We had good car for qualifying for sure. Definitely will be different for the race. I think things will be spread out and there will be more people with better mechanical setups that will come through the field. I think that is the type of racing will be. It won’t be a pack race, but I think it will be good.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: “"After the first practice we didn't quite know what to expect being the first time qualifying these cars on a mile and a half oval. You never know how far you're going to push it. The Go Daddy car was good and credit to the Andretti boys, but with the way the schedule was pushed back the time between practices being shortened we literally had to run my practice car in qualifying. We didn't have time to make any set up changes. So for the cars further back in the qualifying draw, they had a chance to make even little chances that can make the car go quicker so for what we had to run I think it was a good performance and I'm glad to have stayed in the top 10.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS/GEICO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: “I am fairly happy with where we qualified. We will spend the next session working on race setup and seeing how the car reacts running in traffic ready for the race tomorrow. It will definitely be exciting for the fans and I just hope we have a safe and successful race. We’re trying to make the racing better. I think we came out with a pretty good aero package that we won’t have a pack race. See what is going to happen. Obviously, we still don’t know. So we will see. It will be 100% different that what you guys are used to seeing in the past. We are trying to get away from the pack racing and some drivers want more, including myself. But, we aren’t going to please everybody. I think we have a good compromise right now. We just have to see what we have to do.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH: "We had a problem with the car in the first practice session - if I had been out there testing and no one was around I would have said the car was broke, it was that bad. Then we realized we had a bad shock and went closer to some of my teammates with some things and the car came to life. Still not quite where we would like to be on the grid but we're still inside the top 10 and we are back in it now, whereas this morning we weren’t sure which way to go. We've been strong here in the past and I can do something with the RC Cola car from 10th."
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET. QUALIFIED 12TH: "It was a disappointing qualifying run in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car. We just didn’t gear it right and we hit the limiter. It’s certainly not where we should be but I’m looking forward to the race. I think it’s going to be a mixed bag out there we’ve just got to make sure we have a good race car."
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13TH: “That was the first time we actually trimmed. In the practice earlier, we didn’t have time to trim for qualifying. So, we took a guess and I think it was decent. We knew we probably weren’t out there to go for pole. We just wanted to be solidly in, and in the middle. That is where we are going to be so not to bad to start. We’ve been starting a lot at the back this year. So anything better than that is going to feel better and make my job easier tomorrow.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14TH: “I am happy with my qualifying laps. The track is very different from when I tested here in May, so I am pleased with where I be starting tomorrow. Again, so different than anything else. I just asked Tony (Kanaan)…I was lucky that he was able to pull the lap before me. I was just asking him ‘How was it’, because I watched the 2010 race and the 2011 race and they seemed to be glued to the white line and that was the way you went. My car couldn’t do that this morning. I had a quick chat with Tony and he couldn’t get there as well. It is pure inexperience with us. But as far as it goes, I’m fine. I’m happy to be able to do sort of a quick lap.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH : “"I'm not really sure how we missed in qualifying like we did. I had the same setup as James (Hinchcliffe) that is starting sixth so I'm disappointed. But the race is what really counts so we'll work hard in practice this afternoon and do our best with the DHL / Sun Drop Chevy."
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 16TH: “In my five years in the IndyCar Series, I am pretty sure this race will be different than all the ones before. With all the aerodynamic changes that have taken place with the car for this race the downforce levels we will be running are going to be lower. That is going to make the drivers work very hard. In the past, this race was a pretty easy race because we could go flat (accelerated to the floor) because of the high downforece levels. In this morning’s practice we could not do more than a few laps flat out. On top of that we have the traffic factor and all the dirty plus full fuel tank all of which will increase the level of difficulty. However, I like the challenged, I’m excited and I am looking forward to the race. Starting 16th is not the best position, however it is where we are. We have raced from there before and we can do it again. Go from the back to the front. “
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 17TH
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: “I’m pretty upset. We were just off with our gearing in the Fuzzy’s car. We were on the (boost) limiter for both laps. I think I could have been as fast as Tony (Kanaan) and others if we had our gearing right. We were first up to qualifying and we didn’t have much time to prepare the car before qualifying. Everyone is so freaked out about ‘pack’ racing that we have so little downforce. And it will be extremely hard to get through the field from the back. I have been racing here since 2004 and I don’t feel we’ve had a true ‘pack race’ since 2005. I feel everyone is nervous coming to the first one and a half track of the year. I understand that. I don’t feel I’m reckless but we also have to put on a good race for the fans. This is a challenging track for the drivers.”
KATHERINE LEGGE, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “When you go out there, it is like nothing else you have ever experienced. It is like being in control of your own fairground ride around here. I think everyone is finding it a bit of a challenge. It is the cars with more mechanical grip that are going to do better. They’re the cars that have been here testing; that have shaker rigs; have done wind tunnel tests; they are the ones that are going to shine this weekend. They have all had a couple of days to learn all of this stuff. The more you get out and you get back in and you do; I’m sure tomorrow will be a whole different animal for me. At this stage, it is just very new and overwhelming, I would say. We have one Chevrolet engine moving forward. We are very grateful to Chevrolet for the engine. So basically Sebastien (Bourdais) and I are supporting each other. I was in Detroit with him, and he is here with me. We are putting up a united front and push through it.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: "Speed isn’t the problem in the National Guard Chevy, we’re just jammed up here without a lot of time and we made a bunch of adjustments to make the car better and I had a huge moment on the warm-up lap. It’s a tough deal, but we’ll go back and figure out what’s going on. It’s obviously just a one-time thing. We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us tomorrow, but the National Guard car has always been good at Texas and the guys at Panther Racing do a great job. It’s certainly frustrating to have qualifying go down like that but we’ve got some time to figure it out.”