Power not surprised by new car's pace

Surprise Long Beach pole-winner Will Power said he knew from the start of practice that he would be right on the pace in Penske's new third car

Power not surprised by new car's pace

The Australian had to take a back seat at Team Penske when Helio Castroneves's tax evasion trial ended on Friday. After surrendering the #3 Penske Dallara-Honda to Castroneves on Saturday morning, Power moved to a third Penske entry and promptly won the pole position.

His time of 1m09.7107s was 0.1568 seconds better than Ganassi's Dario Franchitti, who tried to top Power's lap in the final minutes of the Fast Six qualifying session but could not.

Power, who won last year's Long Beach Grand Prix when it was run to Champ Car rules, said he had been slightly concerned about changing cars in the middle of a race weekend - until he saw how good the new car was.

"I was a little worried this morning, but then I saw how these guys prepared things and I wasn't worried anymore," Power said.

"I was right not to be, because the car was good. We ironed out a couple of bumps in the morning session, but it was great for qualifying. I'm sure it will be the same tomorrow in the race."

While Castroneves' sudden appearance became the story of the weekend, Power quietly switched cars and uniforms and stole the show.

"When I came into the pits during the first practice session Friday, Tim told me over the radio that Helio had been acquitted and was on his way," Power explained. "At that point I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to be changing cars.'"

Power was moved to Penske's new #12 car for Sunday's race and the Indianapolis 500 in May. Team owner Roger Penske said before qualifying that he did not plan to run the car next weekend at Kansas Speedway, even though a win by Power on Sunday would put him near the lead in the IndyCar Series standings.

"That's a question for Roger and Tim (Cindric, Penske Racing's president)," Power said with a smile. "I'm just going to go out there and do my best."

Castroneves returned to the team after he was acquitted of six tax evasion charges on Friday afternoon in a federal trial in Miami. He crashed during the second qualifying segment and complained of a headache afterwards.

IndyCar officials said there was no evidence of a concussion, but Castroneves will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning. If he is okay he will start eighth in Sunday's race.

"It was a good day for us until the end of qualifying," Castroneves said. "Unfortunately, I pushed it a little bit too much trying to get into the top-six and I overdid it."

Current championship leader Ryan Briscoe was the slowest of the Penske trio today, taking only 10th place on the grid.

"We were running well, but when we put on the red tyres in that second session, we lost the balance of the car," Briscoe said. "It's frustrating, but now we've got to focus on the race tomorrow. We're just going to keep moving forward and hopefully we can get another win under our belts."

shares
comments
Power takes superb Long Beach pole
Previous article

Power takes superb Long Beach pole

Next article

Franchitti takes Long Beach victory

Franchitti takes Long Beach victory
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021