The IndyCar series has returned to oval track racing, this time in Texas.
Team Penske's Will Power took pole for Saturday's Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway with a two-lap average speed of 219.182 mph on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval today.
"The race car has been pretty good," said Power, whose 31st career pole tied Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Bourdais for seventh on the all-time Indy car list. "We were wide open, trimmed out enough, the gears were right. Last year we thought we should have been on the pole but we got it right this time."
"It’s going to be an interesting race," Power said. I think the downforce level I’ve got is about right for good racing, because I think some cars are a lot more than others, and if you happen to put new tires on the last restart and no one else does, you can go in the front. So it creates some interesting situations, and hopefully we’re at the front of all that."
"Before (the new chassis-engine package) you were just a passenger. Now you actually have to drive the thing. Before you were just wide open and hope for the best and hopefully your car was fast. Now you have to drive it. So it’s how it should be. It should be about talent."
Marco Andretti qualified second with a two-lap average of 217.553 mph.
"I’m pleased with our front row," Andretti said. "Good job by the guys because our focus wasn’t even on qualifying. I’m pleased just like I was at Indy (qualified third) because it was the same focus at Indy. The first lap, I think we had an over boost, so we lost a mile-per-hour, which I was hoping it wasn’t going to cost me more than it did. Will went for it, and he got benefited for it so good job to him."
Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (217.524 mph) and Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti (217.504 mph) make up the second row of starters. E.J. Viso (217.244 mph) and Power's Team Penske teammate Castroneves (217.100 mph) make up the third row; followed by Sarah Fisher Racing's Josef Newgarden (216.693 mph) and Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball 216.570 mph).
AJ Foyt's Racing's Takuma Sato and Tristan Vautier of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports did not make qualifying attempts and will start from the back of the grid.
The 228-lap Firestone 550 commences on June 8 at 8:30 PM EDT on ABC television network and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway radio network.