Power Wins Fifth Pole Position Of Season
July 9, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 9, 2011) – Verizon Team Penske's Will Power won the pole position Saturday for the 25th annual Honda Indy Toronto as Team Penske put all three of its cars in the first six rows for the start of Sunday's street race.
Saturday's effort marked Power's fifth pole position in 10 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season. Meanwhile, Ryan Briscoe secured the 10th-place starting position. Helio Castroneves will start 12th on Sunday.
In the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round, Power was clocked at 59.5771 seconds around the 11-turn, 1.76-mile street course in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. He has won the pole for all five road and street course races so far this season and has won poles at eight consecutive road and street events dating back to last season.
This one, though, was the first pole at Toronto for the native of Toowoomba, Australia who has won the race at Exhibition Place twice in his career.
"Man, we really had to work hard for that in the Verizon car," said Power. "It's really good to win a pole here. I've never won a pole here in Toronto and I love this place. This is such a physical track -- it's a real driver's track with all the different surfaces and all the bumps, you really need to wring it's neck out there, and that's what I love about it. When you turn a fast lap here, you're really just exhausted."
Both Briscoe and Castroneves raced through the first round of qualifying but they were unable to advance to the final round.
Briscoe was clocked at 59.9020 seconds in the No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske car.
"Unfortunately, we just had a disappointing second session of qualifying," said Briscoe. "We were strong in the first session in the PPG Automotive Refinish car but with the length of time between the sessions, we didn't touch the car, and when we went back out we just lost a ton of rear grip. It's tough to not make it into the Fast Six, but we'll make sure we have a good car for the race tomorrow and see how we can work our way forward."
Castroneves recorded a lap of 1:00.0115 in the yellow No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.
"We had a good lap going in the Penske Truck Rental car," said Castroneves. "Unfortunately, we went a little too far in what we were trying to do. It was a bit difficult for us on the red tires, which is too bad, because we definitely have a car that is better than 12th on the starting grid. We have been quick all weekend. Tomorrow should be good, though. We just need to have a good day in the pits, drive smart and let the race come to us."
As he looks for back-to-back wins at the difficult Toronto street circuit, Power said he knows said Sunday's race will be tough, especially with championship contenders Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti starting second and third, respectively.
"It's great to be on pole here, but this is a track where you can really pass a lot of cars and move forward from the back," added Power. "We still have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
Power enters Sunday's race ranked second in IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings, now 19 points behind Franchitti. Both Power and Franchitti have won three times this season.
Coverage of Sunday's 85-lap race will begin at 2 p.m. ET on Versus.