Helio Castroneves will start from the pole position for the fourth time this season after averaging 172.477 mph around the historic Milwaukee Mile. His Watkins Glen and Richmond starting positions were based on practice speeds while Motegi was...
Helio Castroneves will start from the pole position for the fourth time this season after averaging 172.477 mph around the historic Milwaukee Mile. His Watkins Glen and Richmond starting positions were based on practice speeds while Motegi was based on points.
Castroneves said his qualifying run wasn't easy. "The lap was kind of hard even though we did the fastest lap," he reported. "There was a big push in Turns 1 and 2. I think the wind picked up a little bit. I said, 'I know I have the car to make this happen, so we need to make it happen.'"
Castroneves will start alongside his Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish. "Sam got the pole last year," Castroneves said. "We started swapping positions. Hopefully, this year it will be that way as well."
Castroneves and five other drivers broke the track record of 170.296 mph set by Hornish last year.
Hornish missed the pole by 0.012 of a second. "Another close one there," said Hornish. "I beat Helio by a little bit last year. He beat me by a little bit here. Hopefully, we'll still win the race tomorrow. It's always nice when we can put these two cars on the front row."
While Team Penske filled the front row, Andretti Green Racing filled the second row with Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan starting third and fourth, respectively.
Kanaan thought he missed the setup a bit and could have been faster. "I don't know if you can ever have too much grip, but today I think we did," he said. "We had a lot of grip, which will be good for the race but it took away some of our speed for qualifying. I went flat all the way around and we just weren't fast enough."
Vitor Meira, who will start fifth, thought he had the right setup but couldn't find the speed for the pole. "I think we got everything out of the car that we could," Meira said. "We trimmed it as much as possible, and I was hanging on like it's supposed to be at Milwaukee. I think we're the most trimmed out car here. We really did everything on the car that we could, and we couldn't have taken any more off the car. I know the racecar is going to be awesome."
Rahal Letterman Racing driver Jeff Simmons qualified a career-best sixth. "I am proud of the Team Ethanol crew for their effort this weekend," said Simmons, whose previous best start was 13th at Watkins Glen in June. "We trimmed out the car a little bit for more speed and the car pushed a little more than in this morning's practice. But overall this is a very good performance with the Dallara chassis. It is nice to continue the progress with the chassis."
With the entire 18 car field is covered by 0.9299 of a second, Simmons was quick to say that, "you lose a tenth of the second and you could lose five positions. It is tough coming to a place that you haven't tested, and I am a rookie in the IndyCar Series. So I feel good that we got in a good qualifying run today."
Ed Carpenter earned his career best starting position. He will start seventh with his Vision Racing teammate Tomas Scheckter sharing the fourth row.