POWER CLAIMS FOURTH PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE AWARD OF 2011 AT SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Saturday, April 30, 2011) - Will Power earned his fourth consecutive PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season and gave Penske Racing its 200th Indy car pole in qualifications for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, set the track record of 1 minute, 21.8958 seconds with three minutes left in the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six shootout on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn street circuit.
Like at Long Beach two weeks earlier, Ryan Hunter-Reay will join Power on the front row. They finished 1-2 in the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race in Brazil, with Power starting the 2010 season with the victory.
"What a fantastic job they did repaving the track, and I believe it now sets the standard for street courses," Power said. "The second session for us was a little tight - I was P5 with one lap to go - and I put a lap together at the end to advance. In the Fast Six we were very comfortable and gave it everything we had."
Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe will share Row 2, while Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti will be on the third row for the 75-lap race.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
HP campaign featured on Dreyer & Reinbold cars: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's No. 22 car driven by Justin Wilson will have the HP "Everybody On" primary livery for the race weekend. HP also will have an associate level presence on the No. 24 car of Ana Beatriz.
Drivers will have 15 pushes of the Honda overtake assist - an ECU software alteration employed by Honda Performance Development - each lasting 22 seconds during the race. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.
There is a 10-second recovery period between pushes. One overtake assist push is available for the warm-up session on Sunday morning.
The dry weather tires for this weekend are the street course primary, which is a new spec for 2011 and used on the streets of St. Petersburg and Long Beach earlier this year. The red-rimmed alternate tires are the same spec as used at St. Pete in March..
The alternate tire program, part of the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2009, calls for a second tire specification at road/street courses using the same construction as the primary specification but with a softer tread compound to provide more grip and faster lap times while trading off compound durability for those shorter-term advantages.
Charlie Kimball might be checking out the Rosetta Stone display at the airport soon so he can converse freely on his next visit to Brazil.
The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing rookie hosted a group of youngsters from the local juvenile diabetes association in the IZOD IndyCar Series paddock. Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007.
"It brings it home," Kimball said after showing the inquisitive youngsters the workings of the car and what all the buttons on his steering wheel operate. "They're so enthusiastic and excited with so many questions and thoughts.
"They came up with questions before they got here. I wish I could have spoken Portuguese so I could answer them more and covered so much more.
"They get to see first-hand that race car driving is not ruled out because of diabetes. It's important to show them at an early age that it's possible to live a normal life and participate in sports."
The 26-year-old Californian was thanked for his time with a box of sugar-free treats.
Ana Beatriz was busy between practice sessions.
First, Brazil national soccer team coach Mano Menezes stopped by to say "Bom dia,"and then Williams Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello visited with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver.
The 2010 race on the streets of São Paulo was the first in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the Firestone Indy Lights graduate.
With sponsorship on the No. 24 car from Brazil-based Ipiranga, Beatriz is coming off a 19th place at Long Beach -- a race in which she competed with a broken wrist. Beatriz has been wearing the Ipiranga logo on her cast.
They may be fierce competitors on-track, but there's a spirit of cooperation in the competitive IZOD IndyCar Series.
Because most of the AFS Racing crew was delayed more than 18 hours from arriving in Brazil because of travel issues related to storms in the States, members of A.J. Foyt Racing, HVM Racing and the Indy Racing Experience pitched in to help set up equipment.
One group of travelers was diverted to Santiago, Chile, before continuing on to São Paulo.
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
· Will Power claimed his fourth pole of 2011 and the 19th pole of his Indy car career. It is his fourth consecutive pole to start the season after he claimed the PEAK Performance Pole Award at St. Petersburg, Barber and Long Beach.
· Power's pole is the 200th all-time Indy car pole for Team Penske.
· Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified second, matching his season-best qualifying performance. He also qualified second for the Long Beach race.
· Power and Hunter-Reay finished first and second, respectively, in the inaugural Sao Paulo race in 2010.
· Scott Dixon qualified third for the third time this season. He also qualified third at St. Petersburg and Barber.
· Graham Rahal qualified fifth and Sebastien Bourdais qualified 12th -- their best qualifying performance of 2011.
· Helio Castroneves (7th) was the best qualified driver among the Brazilians in the field.
· James Hinchcliffe qualified 11th, the highest-qualifying Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate.
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award): "We tried to do as minimal laps as we could in the first two sessions. The second session was close. We got a lap in at the end on our last bit of fuel and we made it the Fast Six. The car was so good that I just had to lay a really good lap, stay clean, put all the sectors together and we came away with the pole again. I want a good, clean race tomorrow. I don't want to be involved in any incidents. I just come away with a win."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda, qualified second): "The team did a great job with the car. It was a lot of fun out there all day. With qualifying being the same day as the first practice, we had to stay on our toes, but I think that it suited us. Unfortunately we didn't get pole. We just have to back and work to make the car better so we can get by Will (Power) on the straights to reverse that result from last year."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "It was pretty decent. I think with the compressed schedule, you have to act and think fast. We're happy. We have three cars in the top six today. The race pace of the Target cars are usually a bit quicker than the qualifying speeds so we're looking forward to tomorrow."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Logistics, qualified fourth): "It was a good day for the yellow Penske Logistics car. What an awesome effort by all my guys - they came in late (due to travel problems from the U.S.) and they were rushed to get ready for the first practice this morning. We came out with a really good setup right away and the car is definitely fast. I have to say I'm really impressed with the circuit here in Sao Paulo. The did a great job repaving the surface and I think it's going to be a really exciting race tomorrow."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, qualified fifth): "Overall, it was a great day for the Service Central guys. We felt good coming in here and I felt it was a track that I'd really like after watching last year's race and from the first session, we felt competitive. After the second session we felt like we would be faster that our final result and it came through. We were competitive in qualifying. We were fastest in the first group and made it to Fast Six. I just made a mistake in Fast Six and messed up my rhythm a bit. But I'm happy to qualify fifth. At the end of the day, you have to look at the positives, and this is a result that will help keep the team moving forward."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kellogg's, qualified sixth): "The Kellogg's car felt OK, we just weren't fast enough today."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Ipiranga Team Penske, qualified seventh): "It's a shame we didn't make it into the top six in qualifying in the Itaipava Team Penske car. We pushed really hard, but it just didn't work for us. We were three tenths-of-a-second off the sixth-fastest time and I think if we could have gotten more a draft we would have put ourselves in a better position, but we gave it our best. Starting seventh tomorrow isn't too bad - maybe it will be my 'Lucky 7' this weekend."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 HP/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified eighth): "Unfortunately, we didn't make the Firestone Fast Six today. It's a shame because we have been OK all day. I thought that we had a little bit more in it, but we just couldn't get the balance where we liked it for qualifying. It's how it goes. We've made three out of four Firestone Fast Six's so far, which apart from Will (Power) that's not a bad average. We have some work to do. We've got to try and make the car a little bit quicker and a little bit better. All in all, I think we made good progress today. We made some positive steps and moved forward. I think it's been good, but the competition level is high and it's pretty tight. It's disappointing, but I think we have a good race car."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified 10th): "It was not an easy day, but through both practice sessions we made steady progress. I tried everything I could in qualifying and the team did put everything together, but we just lacked speed. So, tonight we need to review the data we collected today and work hard to find some more speed for the race. Under the circumstances, I am reasonably happy with the performance today and I feel we can have a strong race tomorrow.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "The track is cool; it's super-technical in some parts but then you have the longest straights on the entire calendar mixed into a street circuit so there is a huge variety. It really becomes a compromise on setup because you've got to trim the car for the long straights but you have still got to have downforce for the corners. It's a tough, technical place and from what I've heard it's improved a lot from last year in terms of the bumps and grip so it has been a lot of fun to drive. I think qualifying went reasonably well for the Sprott team. We didn't have a great first or second practice -- especially second practice this morning. So to make it out of the first round was great. These are a different compound Firestone reds than Long Beach so again it was a new tire for me to learn. We managed to get out of Round 1 and we made big gains in Round 2 but it wasn't enough to get any higher than 11th. I'm happy to be starting on the inside line. Again we are really close to the top-10 but I think that is all we had today after the limited running we had in the second practice so we'll take it. We finished fourth after coming from 11th two weeks ago in Long Beach so maybe it's a good sign. The race is going to be about keeping clean in Turn 1 and hopefully we have a good race car."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): "I thought the #19 Boy Scouts of America car was great in qualifying today. I was very happy for the team that we made it into the next round of qualifying. I think starting in the P12 spot will give us an excellent opportunity to have a great finish in the race tomorrow."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/HVM Racing): "This qualifying session was a little bit disappointing. I think we're just missing something on the red tires, so we just need to figure it out. It seems like the other teams are just picking up a bit more grip than we are, but I think we've got an idea of how we're going to fix it. For the race tomorrow, I think we're going to be alright. The track is a lot of fun and there's plenty of straight-a-ways so we'll be able to pass. If the car is solid for the race, I think we can definitely drive it to the front."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "Well, the session was a little bit disappointing for us. We thought with the Firestone "red" tires we could gain more time and we didn't. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that much grip and I couldn't put a lap together. We were a little bit disappointed in some of the corners, I think we should be better tomorrow. My wrist still hurts a little bit especially when the track grips up and you to be more aggressive, so we'll see for tomorrow. It's frustrating because we didn't have a very good session."
ORIOL SERVIA ( No. 2 Telemundo/Newman/Haas Racing): "The course is interesting. I think it is going to provide great racing. I think that if I had to choose a place to start 16th it would be the one with the longest straights in the whole championship. This place definitely provides passing opportunities which helps our situation. We didn't get it right in qualifying; I wasn't totally happy with the Telemundo car. No excuses, we were not ten-tenths. We missed it but I am still very confident we can have a great car tomorrow. Our superb engineers are working hard and I think that if we have a good car there is no reason why we can't move up to the front."
JAMES JAKES (No. 18 VisitOrlando.com):"It was a little frustrating, but overall I was happy with how the #18 VisitOrlando.com car did today. This is a very challenging track and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing): "There was a time last year when we would have thought that this was ok but now we are the point where we want more and believe we can get more. Our ABC Supply team has been evolving and I think we have evolved more than the others but it is definitely tougher this year—you just have to look at how close the times are. We are seventh in our group for three out of the first four races -- it is a bittersweet feeling."
E.J. VISO ( No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology- Lotus): "Unfortunately, after going over the car the team found we had a mechanical failure that caused me to crash during the second practice session. The car suffered a lot of damage and even thought my crew, with help from some of the guys from the other two KVRT - Lotus crews, worked very hard we just didn't have enough time to fix the car for qualifying. Obviously I am disappointed. We improved the car a lot during practice and I thought I had a chance for a good qualifying session. However, with this track and the way things have gone in the last three races anything is possible, so I am hoping for the best tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "I think the Venom car is stronger than our qualifying results showed today. We didn't get a solid, strong lap in and had a mistake on the track and that really hurt us in the end. Track position is obviously important on a road course, but luckily there are some decent passing zones here. We have our work cut out for us tomorrow but anything's possible."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "Obviously disappointed with the results of qualifying today but I think the GoDaddy car has potential. Last year's race showed this is a track you can pass on which will be a darn good thing for us tomorrow. Here you need overall lap time and speed because it's not a normal road course because there's a long straight away you can draft someone on. But you're also going to need to finish. A lot of people have gone off and it's easy to lock up the brakes and make mistakes here and there. We'll do our best tomorrow and hopefully have a strong result.
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Window World Cares): "The car felt okay really, I thought we'd be up a bit further with the Window World Cares car maybe in the Firestone Fast Six but the last lap I screwed up in the last corner. We could have gone quicker but don't think we could have gone right up to the front. We're obviously not that far up so we'll do our homework tonight and see what the other guys tried and come out a bit stronger tomorrow. Anything can happen in the race. Overall not too unhappy we're in the top 10 and we can do something from there.
MARK JOHNSON (KVRT - Lotus General Manager): About E. J. Viso): "We are very disappointed that we had a mechanical failure today which ended up with E. J. crashing through no fault of his own. The team takes 100 percent responsibility for what happened today. We are all working hard to help E. J. overcome the bad luck that has hampered his performance at the start of this season, so today's problem is even more frustrating."
SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8:30 -9 a.m.
IZOD IndyCar Series warmup
Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle pre-race
Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle (75 laps), VERSUS (Live)
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 1 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be televised live at noon (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is Firestone Freedom 100 on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It will be televised live by VERSUS.