[Source: IndyCar press release]
FORT WORTH, Texas (Friday, June 6, 2014) — Will Power earned his second consecutive Verizon P1 Award for Saturday’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway with a two-lap average speed of 218.896 mph on the 1.455-mile, high-banked oval.
Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, broke a tie with Dario Franchitti for sixth on the all-time Indy car list with his 34th pole and second of the season.
“I was actually surprised by the speed on the first lap (219.550 mph) and thought ‘I have to do it again,’” said Power, who has started in the top five at Texas in six consecutive races and won in 2011. “I’m very focused on the race. Last year, (teammate) Helio (Castroneves) was very strong, so I’ll try to get a car that strong for the race if I can.”
Four different teams are represented in the top five and seven in the top 10.
Josef Newgarden will start second in the No. 67 Strike/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, recording his best qualifying effort in his third Verizon IndyCar Series season with a two-lap average of 217.835 mph. He was the only driver to improve his speed from Lap 1 to 2 (217.446 mph to 218.225 mph). Newgarden’s previous best qualifying on an oval was fourth at Auto Club Speedway in the 2012 season finale.
“I was happily surprised,” said Newgarden, of Hendersonville, Tenn. “We worked mainly on race stuff this morning (in the lone practice session). The name of the game is how to reduce tire degradation during the course of a run, so that’s what we focused on. We didn’t go super conservative for qualifying, but we didn’t go to the edge. The car was really fast. It’s almost like opening a gift at Christmas and getting what you want.”
Tony Kanaan, who wrapped up his 2004 series championship at Texas Motor Speedway, and Juan Pablo Montoya will start on Row 2. Kanaan, in the No. 10 Suave for Men entry for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, posted a two-lap average of 217.826 mph. Montoya competed in 17 NASCAR races at the speedway, but is making his first Indy car start. His two-lap average of 217.724 mph in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car yielded his highest starting position of the season.
Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter (217.677 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car will be on Row 3 with Simon Pagenaud (217.222 mph), driving the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car.
· This is Will Power’s second Verizon P1 Award of 2014. He also won the Verizon P1 Award at Barber. It is 34th pole of Power’s Indy car career, giving him sole possession of sixth on the all-time list. Power passed Dario Franchitti with today’s pole.
· Josef Newgarden qualified second. It is the best qualifying effort of his career. His previous best qualifying was fourth at Long Beach and Barber.
· Tony Kanaan qualified third, his fourth top-five start at Texas Motor Speedway.
· Juan Pablo Montoya qualified fourth, his fifth top-10 start in the last six races. Montoya qualified in the top five twice in his 14 NASCAR starts at Texas Motor Speedway.
· Ed Carpenter qualified fifth, his second-straight top-five start. He started on pole at the Indianapolis 500.
NEXT PAGE: Quotes from the majority of the Verizon IndyCar Series field after qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway