Power grabs pole at Barber

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Will Power will take the top spot heading to the green flag for tomorrow's race at Barber

Will Power starts from pole position for the 2014 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama after turning a lap of 1:081.312 around the 2.3 mile road course.

Power advanced out of the first group with Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Carlos Munoz and Sebastien Bourdais.

Group two saw James Hinchcliffe lead Mikhail Aleshin, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon out into the second round of qualifications.

The second round of qualifications saw the group of 12 cut in half with Power, Newgarden, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, Dixon and Hunter-Reay advancing, but not without controversy.

Bourdais was charged with interfering Hunter-Reay and was docked his two fastest laps, so instead of starting in the top 10, he will roll off 12th. Hunter-Reay had an idea of what happened with Bourdais, and confirmed it with KVSH Racing after the session.

“He was in third gear or second gear in a sixth gear corner and he was coming in that lap, and I came up on him. Either he did it intentionally or he had no idea I was there, and it was the latter. He said his team didn’t tell him, Jimmy Vasser apologized [to me],” Hunter-Reay said.

Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: Covy Moore

The fast six at the end were separated by just over three tenths of a second with Hinchcliffe rounding out the front row. Hunter-Reay shares row two with his Long Beach contact partner Newgarden and Hunter-Reay was surprised about how close qualifying was.

“It’s been so tight in qualifying, I mean anybody can show up, you know somebody that’s been kind of hanging around P11 or P12 during the weekend can show up in qualifying and all of a sudden they’re a player you didn’t expect,” Hunter-Reay said.

He also unknowingly explained what happened with Castroneves’s 6th place effort.

“When you’re trying to get that extra tenth, there’s such a fine line between getting that lap and from throwing it out,” Hunter-Reay explained.

Castroneves’s sixth place effort had a simple explanation.

“I just went a little too deep in the corners,” Castroneves said.

The lone driver to break up the Penske-Ganassi-Andretti stranglehold in the top six was Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Newgarden. He’s had a bit of a change in form and thanked his team after qualifying.

James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Covy Moore

“The team’s really helping me out. Not a lot of teams give a driver 3 years to learn a series and grow and become good at what they do,” Newgarden said. Newgarden’s working with a new engineer this season after his previous engineer went to work with James Hinchcliffe. His new engineer’s never been a race engineer before the season and was an assistant race engineer for Newgarden previous to 2014.

Newgarden also rated his chances well for tomorrow’s race.

“We qualified fourth, that’s pretty good, same as we had at long beach so we should have a great opportunity I think to run with all the guys up front here,” Newgarden said.

As for the pole man, Power’s optimistic for the race.

“I think we’ve got a good race car, from what I’ve seen on old tires,” Power said.

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Breaking news
Tags andretti, barber motorsports park, gaassi, hello castroneves, indy 500, indycar, josef newgarden, juan pablo montoya, nascar, power, sarah fisher hartman, team chevy, team penske, will power