Power Fastest In IndyCar Pole Run At St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Will Power smoothly maneuvered around the 1.8-mile street course at St. Petersburg to claim the pole position for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opening race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season. Averaging 105.870 miles per hour, Power raced to his fourth consecutive IndyCar pole at St. Petersburg and the 30th of his successful career.

The pole winner drove the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and for his achievement, he earned the inaugural Verizon P1 Award and the $10,000 prize that went with it. Power’s pole moved him into eighth place in all-time IndyCar poles, moving ahead of Dario Franchitti.

“It is a street course, and I really enjoy the track,” the pole winner said. “I thought it was going to be very tight. It’s very tight on new tires, but we made a few changes for the last run, and it was good to see some new people up there.”

Takuma Sato, making his debut with the ABC Supply A. J. Foyt Racing Honda, drove superbly to gain the outside front-row starting position. His speed was 105.233 mph.

“Between Will (Power) and I, it’s getting close for us this weekend, but unfortunately we didn’t get the fastest (time),” he said. “I am really glad for the team. They really worked hard over the course of the winter testing, and I’ve done the preparation as much as I could. I think we made good improvement (during practice), and I’m really happy to show the improvement over the course of qualifying.”

Simona de Silvestro continued her rapid progress with her new team, the KV Racing Technology Chevrolet-powered organization, to qualify third at 104.910 mph.

Said the happy de Silvestro, “It’s awesome. The whole weekend has been going really well for us, and it’s really cool to finally get the results we wanted. It’s unbelievable. We were right up there with Will (Power) and (Takuma) Sato, who are usually always up there, and it’s fun to be there with them.”

Starting alongside the Swiss driver in row two is James Hinchcliffe in the Chevrolet. His speed was 104.816 mph.

Three-time winner Helio Castroneves earned the fifth starting position ahead of rookie sensation Tristan Vautier. The young French driver raced to victory here a year ago in the Firestone Indy Lights race.

Marco Andretti timed seventh with IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay eighth. Sebastian Saavedra and Franchitti rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.

Chevrolet-powered cars dominated qualifications, gaining seven of the top-10 starting spots.

Scott Dixon, who finished second a year ago, was off the pace, qualifying 20th. “We have just been a bit behind in getting the Target cars up to speed here this weekend for some reason,” he said.

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