Saturday, March 27, 2010

Power Produces IZOD IndyCar Pole on Streets of St Petersburg

Photo Credit: Dan Helrigel/IndyCar

After starting the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season outside of the United States for the first time in series history within the thrilling Sao Paulo round, the teams return to the streets of St Petersburg, Florida. The 6th visit for the IndyCar Series, Penske Racing holds three of previous race victories on the 1.8 mile, 11-turn circuit.

In qualifying for the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Penske Racing driver Will Power backed up a fastest speed in Friday practice to grab the pole position for Sunday's event. Blitzing the temporary race course in 1 minute, 1.6026 seconds, this fastest time by the Penske Racing #12 car is roughly 8/10ths of a second faster than the pole time of Graham Rahal in 2009.

Securing his last pole at Edmonton last July, a race that Will Power went on to dominate to victory. In a post race interview, Power responded to a question regarding his confidence going into tomorrow's race by saying "Yeah, been very strong all weekend, really happy for all of the Verizon guys. It's their first full season, so started off very strongly and that was hard work in that session. Tried to save the good Reds (faster, softer alternative tires) for the Fast Six and had a light run."

Posting a best time just 0.2771 seconds slower than Power's Penske Racing machine, Tony Kanaan falls short Andretti Autosport's first pole since the June 2008 race at Richmond. Andretti Autosport does has reason to celebrate with two cars being in the Firestone Fast Six qualifiers as the #26 car of Marco Andretti was 6th quickest in the afternoon time trial session.

Photo Credit: Ron McQueeney

Filling the 3rd through 5th spots in the Firestone Fast Six were the #9 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing car of Scott Dixon, the #22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Justin Wilson and Will Power's teammate Helio Castroneves in the #3 Penske machine. As for Penske Racing's 3rd driver Ryan Briscoe, his #6 car will start deep in the grid in 19th place after struggling to find speed around the 1.8 mile track. Briscoe enters the race as the defending 2009 winner at St Petersburg.

Another car finding trouble in St Petersburg qualifying was the #10 driven by Sao Paulo polesitter Dario Franchitti. On Sunday, Franchitti will be making his 200th open-wheel racing start in North America at St Petersburg (86 races in the IRL IndyCar Series and 114 in the defunct CART tour).

Competing in his first race of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season, Graham Rahal has placed the Sarah Fisher Racing #67 in a sluggish 16th place in qualifying. With the partnership between Rahal and Sarah Fisher Racing scheduled only for St Petersburg as well as the next race at Barber Motorsports Park on April 11th, rumours have continued to run on Rahal's future plans in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Some indications have Graham Rahal returning to Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing later this season.

The 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg will air on ABC at 3:30PM.

2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg Starting Grid

Pos #| Car #| Driver/Team

1. 12 Will Power/Australia Penske Racing
2. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil Andretti Autosport
3. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
4. 22 Justin Wilson/England Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
5. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil Penske Racing
6. 26 Marco Andretti/United States Andretti Autosport
7. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States Andretti Autosport
8. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada FAZZT Race Team
9. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela KV Racing Technology
10. 24 Mike Conway/England Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
11. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan KV Racing Technology
12. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
13. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
14. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
15. 4 Dan Wheldon/England Panther Racing
16. Graham Rahal/United States Sarah Fisher Racing
17. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil AJ Foyt Enterprises
18. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil Conquest Racing
19. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia Penske Racing
20. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil KV Racing Technology
21. 7 Danica Patrick/United States Andretti Autosport
22. 19 Alex Lloyd/England Dale Coyne Racing
23. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports
24. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela Dale Coyne Racing

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