Castroneves Runs 220+ / Leads Penske Top-Three Sweep in Pocono Qualifying …

Posted: August 23, 2015 in Uncategorized
Charlie Kimball goes into the fencing during his qualification attempt for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- Photo by Bret Kelley

Charlie Kimball goes into the fencing during qualifying for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway — Photo by Bret Kelley

******

Team Penske swept the top three positions in qualifications for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, but its fourth entry driven by Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Juan Pablo Montoya will be in a decidedly more difficult position at the outset of the 200

Helio Castroneves earned his fourth Verizon P1 Award of the season with a two-lap average speed of 220.530 mph (1 minute, 21.6217 seconds) on the 2.5-mile triangular oval in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet.

Castroneves bumped Simon Pagenaud (220.485 mph) in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet from the provisional pole. Earlier in the session, Will Power recorded a two-lap average speed of 220.398 mph in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and will start third.

“I was able to collect some information from (Power and Pagenaud) and at the end of the day we’re strong, we’re solid and I can’t wait for the race,” said Castroneves, who secured his 45th career pole in his 310th Indy car start. It was a good day. It was a solid run, man. I could not believe it, especially with the delay. Good thing Charlie (Kimball) is OK. When you start building up anxiety with the wind picking up, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you’re like, ‘Oh, boy, let’s get going.’ Thankfully, everybody did an excellent job fixing the track and we were able to continue qualifying. With that, the car was unbelievable, flawless. Basically like I said, ‘Don’t lift, just keep going.

Helio Castroneves celebrates his Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole position in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- Photo by Chris Jones

Helio Castroneves celebrates his Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole position in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway — Photo by Chris Jones

Montoya, who has won four of his 10 Indy car 500-mile race starts including the 2014 race at Pocono Raceway and the 2015 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race from the 15th starting position, will start 19th in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet after posting a two-lap average speed of 217.194 mph.

“You can’t really know what’s going to happen. We’ve done a really good job all year, like everybody else, had ups and downs, and we’ll see what it brings,” said Montoya, who set the track two-lap qualifying record of 223.871 mph in July 2014.

Montoya enters the race (2 pm ET  NBCSN) with a nine-point lead over Graham Rahal in the championship standings. Scott Dixon in third place, followed by Castroneves and Power, the reigning series champion. Rahal qualified fifth (220.118 mph) in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Dixon qualified 11th (218.969) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Team Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves cross the start finish line during practice for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- Photo by Chris Jones

Team Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves cross the start finish line during practice for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway — Photo by Chris Jones

Ten drivers are mathematically eligible for the title, which will be decided Aug. 30 in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on the Sonoma Raceway road course. With the season finale carrying double points, a driver must leave Pocono within 104 points of the lead to remain eligible. It will mark the 10th consecutive season in which the title is decided in the finale.

The Pocono qualifying session was delayed 48 minutes for repairs to the catch fencing in Turn 3 after the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet driven by Charlie Kimball made contact with the SAFER Barrier and catch fencing on his first qualifying lap. Kimball was checked at the infield care center and cleared to drive. The backup car was being prepared to start from the last row in the race. Kimball had turned the fastest lap in the 90-minute morning practice. Said Kimball after the incident: “I’m all right, just a little disappointed. Really disappointed. Went into (Turn) 1 and the car caught me out a little bit with the handling, so I made some adjustments and I don’t know if it was the wind or what caught me going into (Turn) 3. Maybe I was a little aggressive, but it’s qualifying. You have to go for it. I’m really disappointed for the whole Novo Nordisk team. I know a lot of guys from Novo Nordisk are coming up and the car was really fast this morning. That’s the good thing about having a crew like Chip Ganassi Racing behind you. I know that the car they pull out of the trailer will be just as good.”

Also, the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet driven by rookie Stefano Coletti that made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier in morning practice did not make a qualifying attempt and will start on the last row.

Andretti Is Model of Consistency in 2015

Marco Andretti chats with his grandfather, Mario Andretti, on pit lane prior to his qualifying -- Photo by Chris Jones

Marco Andretti chats with his grandfather, Mario Andretti, on pit lane prior to his qualifying — Photo by Chris Jones

Marco Andretti, of nearby Nazareth, Pa., enters his home race at Pocono as the only driver to complete every lap of every race this far in 2015. Andretti winces at the public acknowledgement for fear of being jinxed. Through 14 races, Andretti has completed all 1,947 laps. By adding 285 laps over the final two races of the season, he would join former teammate Tony Kanaan as the only Indy car drivers to go through a season with such a distinction. Kanaan completed all 3,305 laps in 17 races on the way to winning the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.

Andretti said “it’s everything” – from the crew of the No. 27 Snapple Honda for Andretti Autosport to fortune and more – to be in this position.

“It takes me staying out of trouble. It’s definitely a credit to Honda as well for its reliability,” said Andretti, who is seventh in the standings and mathematically eligible for the title. “Even when we’ve been a lap down, we’ve still managed to come back to be on the lead lap.

“There have only been a few races where we’ve been out of the top 10. From that standpoint, I’m happy with my season. I wish the highs were a little bit higher. We’ve minimized how bad the lows are, but we need to capitalize when we have the cars to do it.”

Pocono Qual Results

Comments are closed.