Justin qualifies 5th for Grand Prix of Long Beach
Justin will line up 5th for Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after he and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing made it through to the final, Firestone Fast Six qualifying round for the third race in a row. Will Power took his third pole position of the season for Team Penske (1:09.065), with Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) lining up alongside him on the front row. Justin’s team-mate Ana Beatriz (No. 24 Ipiranga) qualified 26th.
After a strong showing in Friday morning’s practice session, the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car was dogged with brake balance problems on Friday afternoon and was just 18th on the timesheets on Saturday morning. But Justin and the DRR engineering team kept their cool and were able to dial the car in so that by qualifying Justin was able to progress through to the final round.
In the first round Justin posted the 6th fastest time (1:09.855) in what was a highly competitive second qualifying group. In round 2 he was 3rd quickest of the 12 drivers participating; a supreme, final lap effort (1:09.487) secured his place in the much-coveted Firestone Fast Six. A further set-up tweak for the final round proved to be good in parts and Justin’s quick time of 1:09.810 will see him line up on the third row of the grid alongside Helio Castroneves (Team Penske).
“I’ve got to thank everyone who’s working on the Z-Line Designs car,” said Justin. “We made a few changes from this morning and the car’s much better now. The guys kept their heads down and dug their heels in and we ended up with a race car that’s pretty good. It was nice to go out there and stick a time in and get a place in the Firestone Fast Six. We got a bit more adventurous in the Fast Six, trying to find another step in the same direction. It was good, but there was one part that tipped it over and meant we were pretty loose under braking in a few places. So having made it to the Fast Six I’m disappointed we didn’t do a little bit better, but we’ve learned a lot and hopefully we’ll have a good race car for tomorrow.”