Nancy Knapp Schilke
After taking his two laps on the Texas Motor Speedway oval, Alex Tagliani landed the pole with a time of 48.5695 for an average speed of 215.691 mph. It was the first time this year that Tagliani earned the top spot in qualifying, and the first IZOD IndyCar Series pole for Bryan Herta Autosport.
This is the French-Canadian’s second-consecutive pole on the 1.5 mile oval. "Wow that is so great, back on the pole at Texas! I told people after we sat out the race in Brazil that our season started in Indy and it did, with Honda power. We are very happy to start up front and I'd like to think that we will be a threat in the race tomorrow night. Bryan (Herta), Steve (Newey) and Todd (Malloy), the whole team won this pole - it is a great tribute to all the guys."
Co-owner Herta commented, "Alex (Tagliani) and Todd (Malloy) are a great combination. They proved that here last year, and they proved it again today. They're doing a really good job right now and it's a very proud time for our team to have this kind of success. The next stage for us now is that we have to convert the qualifying pace we've had the last couple of weeks into results."
Tagliani led a top three sweep for Honda, and Scott Dixon added to it by taking the fourth starting spot for tomorrow night’s Firestone 550. "It's pretty clear to see that for the team, once we got back with Honda, we're a threat every race weekend,” Tagliani said.
Slotting on the front row with a 215.646, Dario Franchitti aims to notch another win as he defends his 2011 championship. The winner of the Indy 500 had the provisional pole and had to wait out the challengers; including his own Ganassi Racing teammates.
Franchitti was surprised at his qualifying runs. "We went actually quicker than I thought we would. The Energizer car was a bit of handful in the first runs this morning, so we had a bit of work to do. The guys did a really good job of it and it's definitely the most, the hardest qualifying that I've done here with that level of downforce and that level of grip.”
Rahal ended with his best at 215.544 to land him his best grid position of third this season in yet another Ganassi prepared car; the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
"When I first went out there this morning, I did not like it at all and the team worked really hard and the car was awfully fast. Overall, the car feels really good so we're looking forward to the race tomorrow,” said Rahal.
Lining up alongside Rahal is last week’s winner in Detroit and Franchitti’s teammate, Dixon, with a speed of 215.331. The Kiwi said, “I think we have the balance where it needs to be for tomorrow. I think we'll be racy and I look forward to getting going tomorrow night under the lights. There is more emphasis placed back in the drivers' hands with this car and that's what it's all about."
Penske Racing’s Will Power was the fastest of the Chevrolet drivers, and he will start fifth with a 215.116. Alongside Power is James Hinchcliffe (214.920). Rounding out the top 10 were Tony Kanaan, Mike Conway, Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato.
The IndyCar teams tested earlier at the Ft. Worth speedway; but they came to this event with aerodynamic changes to their Dallaras. Several of the racers commented on “a loss of a bit of downforce”. After grabbing the pole,Tagliani mentioned the changes: “Some drivers had a problem with their second lap and we were very consistent, but loose with the low downforce on both of them.”
Their first chance to really test how the cars will behave in traffic will be in practice later tonight.