Sato Keeps Up Momentum With Pole Position For Second Belle Isle Race

Takuma Sato poses with the P1 award sticker. [Andy Clary Photo]

Takuma Sato poses with the P1 award sticker. [Andy Clary Photo]

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DETROIT (Sunday, June 4, 2017) – Takuma Sato kept the momentum from his historic Indianapolis 500 win going, winning the Verizon P1 Award and pole position for this afternoon’s second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader in record fashion.

The driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda ran a sizzling lap of 1 minute, 13.6732 seconds (114.831 mph) on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park temporary street course to secure the first starting position for the 70-lap race that airs at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Sato’s lap tops the track record set Saturday in qualifying for the first race by Graham Rahal, 1:13.9681 (114.374 mph). It is the sixth pole position of Sato’s eight-year Verizon IndyCar Series career and first since he was fastest in qualifying for the second Belle Isle race three years ago.

“The (No.) 26 car was a rocket ship,” Sato said. “Going through my (fast) lap, I mean, I gave 100 percent everything. There was nothing left on the inches. I was nearly hit the wall twice, but I was happy, I was confident. It’s absolutely team credit.

“To set the track record in this challenging track, it means a lot to me, and I’m very, very happy.”

On May 28, Sato won the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, becoming the first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sato’s Andretti Autosport teammate, will start on the outside of Row 1 today after setting the fastest lap in a disjointed first qualifying group. Hunter-Reay clocked a best lap of 1:15.2833 (112.376 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda in a session limited to a little more than five minutes of green-flag time due to Carlos Munoz’s crash in Turn 2.

“It was a case where Group 1 only had the opportunity to run one or two laps on a set of tires,” said Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series and 2014 Indy 500 champion. “Some guys didn’t even get to get a lap in after the green (following the Munoz incident). It’s nice to start up front. We really didn’t have a shot at pole. We’ll take it and hopefully progress from there.”

Munoz was uninjured, but his No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing ABC Supply Chevrolet sustained significant right-side damage and shortened what had been scheduled as a 12-minute session. Munoz will start last in the 22-car field today.

Rahal will start third in the No. 15 SoldierStrong / Honda. After winning Saturday’s race from the pole, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver looks to become the first driver to sweep the Belle Isle doubleheader since the format was adopted in 2013. Helio Castroneves, in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, will start beside Rahal in Row 2.

Points leader Scott Dixon starts from the outside of Row 4 in the No. 9 Camping World Honda. Dixon leads Castroneves in the championship battle by two points heading into the race.

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Race 2 qualifying results
DETROIT – Qualifying Sunday for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:13.6732 (114.831)
2. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:15.2833 (112.376)
3. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:13.8105 (114.618)
4. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:15.5279 (112.012)
5. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:13.8264 (114.593)
6. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:16.0371 (111.261)
7. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:13.9449 (114.410)
8. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:16.1727 (111.063)
9. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:14.0339 (114.272)
10. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:16.1732 (111.063)
11. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:14.0765 (114.206)
12. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 01:16.1800 (111.053)
13. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:14.1814 (114.045)
14. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:16.2884 (110.895)
15. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 01:14.3287 (113.819)
16. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 01:16.5150 (110.567)
17. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:14.7786 (113.134)
18. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:18.6272 (107.596)
19. (18) Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 01:15.0055 (112.792)
20. (16) Oriol Servia, Honda, 01:21.4485 (103.869)
21. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:15.8491 (111.537)
22. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)

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