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INDYCAR NEWS 

Indy 500: Will Power heads Chevrolet domination of early qualifying

Will Power, Penske, Indy 500 2013Will Power led a Chevrolet rout of the opening phase of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, with rival Honda having been completely shut out of the Fast Nine pole shootout.

The result echoes qualifying for last year's race, when Josef Newgarden was the sole Honda runner to make it through to the Fast Nine phase

In a session that began more than two hours late due to earlier rain, Penske driver Power opened his qualifying run with an extraordinary 229.442mph lap before settling down for an average of 228.844mph.

Reigning IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay came closest to matching the Australian with an average of 228.282mph for Andretti Autosport.

Andretti rookie Carlos Munoz was next-fastest ahead of three-time winner Helio Castroneves, with Ed Carpenter, Marco Andretti, AJ Allmendinger, EJ Viso and James Hinchcliffe all progressing to the afternoon's battle for pole.

JR Hildebrand just missed out, but completed a top-10 sweep for Chevrolet.

BHA's Alex Tagliani was best of the Honda-powered entries, qualifying 11th for the race, while Ganassi duo Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will both have to race from the middle of the pack after finishing up 16th and 17th respectively.

Their team-mate Ryan Briscoe initially missed the cut, but after waving off his second attempt he managed to improve on his third try to put himself in 21st place.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan's drivers were forced to battle each other in the hope of securing one of the top 24 places, with Graham Rahal trying unsuccessfully to knock team-mate James Jakes off the bubble.

James Jakes, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Indy 500 2013Jakes was bumped later, but managed to get himself back up to 20th with his third try. Fellow Rahal runner Michel Jourdain Jr also made a late attempt to break out of the bottom group, but failed.

Of the others who attempted to improve their original times, Townsend Bell initially bumped himself on his second attempt before climbing back up to more or less where he had started from with his third run, while Simona de Silvestro's effort ended with her keeping her original position of 22nd, although that turned into 24th as others improved around her.

Tristan Vautier, Pippa Mann Sebastian Saavedra and Ana Beatriz also failed to make any impact with their late attempts, and will join Rahal and Jourdain in fighting it out with Buddy Lazier and Conor Daly for the lower grid places on Sunday.

Bump day will also mark the first on-track appearance by Katherine Legge, who secured a late deal to race a third Schmidt Peterson entry.

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine        Speed
 1.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy       228.844
 2.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy     228.282
 3.  Carlos Munoz         Andretti/Chevy     228.171
 4.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy       227.975
 5.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy    227.952
 6.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy     227.893
 7.  AJ Allmendinger      Penske/Chevy       227.761
 8.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy     227.612
 9.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy     227.493
10.  JR Hildebrand        Panther/Chevy      227.441
11.  Alex Tagliani        Herta/Honda        227.386
12.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy           226.949
13.  Oriol Servia         Panther DRR/Chevy  226.814
14.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda        226.370
15.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy       226.196
16.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda      226.158
17.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda      226.069
18.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda         225.892
19.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda      225.880
20.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda        225.809
21.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda      225.674
22.  Townsend Bell        Panther/Chevy      225.643
23.  Ryan Briscoe         Ganassi/Honda      225.265
24.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy           225.226

Positions 10-24 are set for the race
Positions 1-9 go into the Fast Nine session
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