Will Power’s Alternate Tire Move Results in Road America Pole …

Posted: June 26, 2016 in Uncategorized
Team Penske's Will Power sets up for Turn 5 during qualifications for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America -- Imagerby Chris Owens

Will Power sets up for Turn 5 during qualifications for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America — Image by Chris Owens

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin  (Saturday, June 25, 2016) – It’s not often that a Verizon IndyCar Series team puts one over on the competition, but Will Power and his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew did just that to win the Verizon P1 Award and will start on pole position in Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America.

Power saved a fresh set of Firestone’s faster alternate tires for the final segment of knockout qualifying – appropriately named the Firestone Fast Six – and laid down a lap of 1 minute, 42.2105 seconds (141.379 mph) to secure the top qualifying position. It is the 44th pole for the 35-year-old Australian, ranking fifth on the all-time Indy car list and pulling him within three of teammate Helio Castroneves for fourth place.

Power used the same set of the softer alternate tires in the first two qualifying segments, allowing him to hold back a new set for the final-round battle for the pole. The gamble paid off.

“If we lost pole in the (Firestone) Fast Six, it would look pretty bad because we had new tires,” Power said. “But Scott Dixon was pretty quick and so was (Tony Kanaan), but (I’m) just stoked to be on pole.

“It’s going to be a tough track to pass on. Obviously it’s a tough track to save a lap of fuel as well, so I think there will be a lot of similar strategies. We’re starting at the right end.”

KOHLER Grand Prix Qual Results

Power’s pole position gives Team Penske 242 in Indy car competition – more than any other team – and is the organization’s 499th in all forms of motorsports. The team is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016.

Scott Dixon adjust his gloves along pit lane prior to qualifications for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America -- Image by Joe Skibinski

Scott Dixon along pit lane prior to qualifications for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America — Image by Joe Skibinski

Dixon, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, qualified second in the No. 9 Clorox Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams with a lap of 1:42.3759 (141.150 mph) on the historic 4.014-mile permanent road course that is hosting Indy cars for a 26th time but the first since 2007. Dixon, currently second to Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the point standings, equaled his best season starting position. 

“Power did a hell of a job to use the used (set of tires) in Q2 and then obviously have a new tire for Q3, and to be honest I just messed up my lap,” Dixon said. “It’s crazy, on such a great track we still often go out together and get traffic, so I had to wave off the first lap and on the second lap I just lost two, three tenths in Turn 12, which cost us the pole. The car was super-fast and (I’m) just frustrated that we didn’t get what I thought we should have been able to.”

Kanaan, Dixon’s teammate, was third in the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet (1:42.7279, 140.667 mph), with Pagenaud 4th in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevy (1:42.8573, 140.490 mph). Row 3 of the 22-car starting grid is filled by Castroneves in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy (1:42.9449, 140.370 mph) and Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Gehl/D-A Lubricant Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1:43.7782, 139.243 mph).

All the drivers who reached the Firestone Fast Six have raced Indy cars at Road America before, which Rahal believes provided an advantage.  “I think it does,” Rahal said. “Just doing laps and that sort of thing is good for everybody, for sure. “But this weekend, I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t raced on a racetrack this difficult in a long time because it seems like every time this track gives you a little something different. It’s just always a challenge.”

A trio of Verizon IndyCar Series rookies notched career-best qualifying efforts today. Max Chilton qualified seventh (1:42.7519, 140.634 mph) in the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Conor Daly was ninth (1:43.1073, 140.149 mph) in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda for Dale Coyne Racing and Spencer Pigot 17th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet (1:43.6432, 139.424 mph). Alexander Rossi, the rookie who won last month’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, qualified 16th.

Pagenaud takes an 80-point lead into Sunday’s 50-lap race. Live coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

IndyCar Notes

Sam Schmidt missing Road America to take on Pikes Peak in SAM Car

INDYCAR team owner Sam Schmidt pilots the ARROW car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Image by Bret Kelley

INDYCAR team owner Sam Schmidt pilots the ARROW car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Image by Bret Kelley

Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights team co-owner Sam Schmidt is missing a rare race weekend, but with very good reason. Schmidt, a quadriplegic since sustaining injuries in an Indy car testing crash in 2000, is in Colorado this weekend to drive the Arrow Electronics Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) on the bottom half of the challenging Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Using only head and eye movements to accelerate and brake the modified 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Schmidt will drive the car on the lower half of the twisting 12.42-mile, 156-turn course up the mountain. He will then lead the parade of race cars, four-wheelers and motorbikes back down. The SAM car utilizes cutting-edge technology to enable disabled drivers to experience driving again in an effort to deliver more independence.

“Arrow Electronics is proud to sponsor the 100th anniversary of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Climb,” said Joe Verrengia, director of Arrow’s corporate social responsibility program. “This longstanding Colorado tradition captivates auto enthusiasts around the world and is the perfect place to showcase the inspiring capabilities of Sam Schmidt and Arrow’s SAM car project.”

Last month on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, Schmidt achieved a top speed of 152 mph in the SAM car. As at Indy, Schmidt will have as his co-pilot Robby Unser, the former Indy car driver who has been a four-time “king of the mountain” at Pikes Peak. The iconic hill climb is celebrating its 100th anniversary and 94th running this year.

The SAM project is a collaborative venture among Arrow Electronics, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Schmidt’s nonprofit organization Conquer Paralysis Now and Paravan GmbH, a world leader in innovative automobile conversions for drivers with severe disabilities. For more information on the project, visit http://arrow.com/SAM/.

Veach, Telitz, Martin Win Mazda Road to Indy Races

Zach Veach won his first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race of the season and fourth of his career in today’s opener of the weekend doubleheader at Road America. Meanwhile, Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz and Australian Anthony Martin swept the two races held today in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, respectively.

Veach, who won three Indy Lights races in 2014 but sat out last season, started from pole and led all 20 laps in winning by nearly 3 seconds over Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman, who retained second place despite being penalized 5 seconds for contact during the race. It also provided a warm homecoming for team owner Brian Belardi, who is from Grafton, Wis.

Telitz led every lap of both Pro Mazda races to collect his second and third wins of the season. He and Team Pelfrey teammate Pato O’Ward have won all nine races this season. O’Ward retains a 28-point lead in the standings after nine of 16 races.

Like Telitz, Martin led every lap of the two USF2000 races. With the double win, Martin pulled into a tie with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson for the points lead after 9 of 16 races, but Martin is considered in first place by virtue of his four race wins to Thompson’s three.

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