[Source: IndyCar press release]
NEWTON, Iowa – Scott Dixon set the Iowa Speedway two-lap qualifying track record en route to the Verizon P1 Award to lead a front-row sweep for Target Chip Ganassi Racing during qualifications for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB. Dixon’s two-lap average of 186.256 mph shattered the previous speed record of 180.375 mph held by Takuma Sato since 2011.
Tony Kanaan, the 2010 race winner on the 0.894-mile, variably-banked oval while with Andretti Autosport, recorded a two-lap average speed of 185.891 mph in the No. 10 TNT Energy Drink entry to tie his season-high qualifying result of second.
Dixon, driving the No. 9 entry, is the ninth different driver to claim the Verizon P1 Award during the first 12 races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Today’s effort marked his 21st career Indy car pole, tying Gil de Ferran for 13th on the all-time Indy car list.
“It’s definitely a good thing to see the Ganassi cars at the top,” said Dixon, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, whose previous best qualifying result on an oval this season was seventh at Texas Motor Speedway. “We had been stuck in sort of a rut and it had been a while since my last pole (Baltimore in August 2013). We’re winless so we have a bit of work to do. It definitely will be a tough one; the competition is extremely good.”
Eight different drivers representing six teams have won this season, though none have been from Chip Ganassi Racing. Andretti Autosport has won five of the seven races at Iowa Speedway, including the past four.
Dixon started on the pole at Iowa in 2007 and 2008, but has yet to win on the oval. His next victory will tie Al Unser Jr. for sixth all-time on the Indy car win list with 34. No driver has won from the pole in the seven races at Iowa Speedway.
Helio Castroneves, who enters tomorrow’s 300-lap race tied with Team Penske teammate Will Power atop the championship standings, set the one-lap track record (186.809 mph) on his second qualifying lap in the No. 3 for a two-lap average of 185.685 mph and will join Ryan Briscoe (185.339 mph) on Row 2. Power, battling bronchitis this weekend, qualified ninth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
Carlos Munoz qualified fifth and Sebastien Bourdais will join the series rookie in Row 3. The fourth Chip Ganassi Racing car, driven by Charlie Kimball, will occupy Row 4 in the seventh starting position with 2011 Iowa race winner Marco Andretti, who starts eighth.
IOWA CORN INDY 300 PRESENTED BY DEKALB QUALIFYING NOTES:
• This is Scott Dixon’s first Verizon P1 Award this season. It is his 21st career pole and is his first pole since he won the pole for the first Houston race in October 2013.
• With today’s pole, Dixon ties Gil de Ferran for 13th on the all-time list of pole winners and has won at least one pole in the last eight Verizon IndyCar Series seasons.
• Dixon earned his second pole position at Iowa Speedway. He also won the pole for the first race here in 2007.
• Dixon set Iowa Speedway’s two-lap track record during his qualifying run. Dixon’s average qualifying speed was 186.256 mph. The previous two-lap record was 180.375 mph, set by Takuma Sato in 2011.
• Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan earned two of the three front-row starting spots. It is the second consecutive race a team has swept the top two starting positions. Team Penske’s Montoya and Castroneves were 1-2 at Pocono.
• This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s third pole at Iowa Speedway (Dixon 2007 and Franchitti in 2012). It also started on pole here in 2008 with Dixon when the field was set based on entrant points.
• This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s 83rd pole in Indy car racing. Forty-seven of those poles have come on ovals.
• Helio Castroneves qualified third, fourth consecutive start in the top-10. Castroneves set the one-lap qualifying record at Iowa Speedway with his second timed lap (17.2283, 186.809). The previous one-lap record was 17.3324, 185.687 mph set by Helio Castroneves in single-lap heat race qualifying in 2013.
NEXT PAGE: Quotes from much of the field qualified for the 2014 Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway