Power’s Pole-Winning Effort Leads Dominant Qualifying For Team Penske At Barber Motorsports Park
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 9, 2011) – Will Power stormed to the pole position Saturday for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, leading a charge to the front by Team Penske for the start of Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park.
Power recorded a fast lap of 1:11.455 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda, as he edged teammate Ryan Briscoe for the pole. It marked the second consecutive pole for Power in 2011 competition and the second straight year he led qualifying at the challenging Barber circuit. With Power’s effort, Team Penske has now captured the pole position in 15 of the last 19 IZOD IndyCar Series races.
“It was very tiring, but we saved it until the end and put a good lap together,” said Power, who scored his 18th career Indy car pole position with Saturday’s effort. “I’m happy to have the No. 12 Verizon car up front again. It’s really important to start from the front at this track. I feel we should have won the race last year with the speed we had, so we’re pretty focused on the strategy.”
Power, the series’ defending Mario Andretti Road Course champion, finished fourth last season at Barber for his worst finish on a road or street course in 2010.
It’s really important to start from the front at this track.
In his first race driving the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda, Briscoe was clocked at 1:11.736 around the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course as he earned the other front-row starting position.
“Overall, this is a really good start for us in the bright yellow Penske Truck Rental car,” said Briscoe, who qualified ninth and finished sixth at Barber last season. “We've been quick in every session so far, and we feel really good about the car. It's great for Team Penske to sweep the front row and get three of the top four spots. It shows how much we learned and took from the test here. Now, we'll try to move up one spot and get our first win tomorrow."
Helio Castroneves, who won last year’s inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber, will start fourth after his lap of 1:12.125 in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
“This was a great effort for Team Penske today,” said Castroneves. “Our guys struggled a little initially this weekend. We had a really good test here but things changed a little bit and the No. 3 car was the team that was affected the most. But we recovered well for qualifying and had some good laps. It will be good to start up front, especially at this place. It's great for us in the new AAA Insurance colors this weekend. Now, for me, the most important thing is to get through the first lap and try to go for the win.”
Power, who finished second in the IZOD IndyCar season opener March 27 at St. Petersburg, Fla., was fastest throughout practice and qualifying at Barber.
“I love this track,” added Power. “The little things really make the difference here in putting together a good lap and Verizon Team Penske is very good at getting all the details just right.”
In addition to the results on track, the look of the Team Penske cars has attracted a lot of attention this weekend. The No. 6 car driven by Briscoe features the distinctive yellow color scheme of Penske Truck Rental, while Castroneves is driving the blue, white and red car featuring the AAA scheme.
“On the monitor on the big screen, I was looking at cars go by,” said Castroneves. “I saw this pretty blue one, and I thought, ‘Hey, that’s a nice color.’ Then I looked closer at it and said, “Hey, that’s me!’”
-source: team penske