Indy 500: Will Power heads Chevrolet domination of early qualifying
|By Mark Glendenning||Saturday, May 18th 2013, 22:24 GMT|
Will 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.
Jakes 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