Team Penske teammates Will Power and Ryan Briscoe locked out the front row for tomorrow's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, in a qualifying session dominated by Chevrolets.
Power's flyer came in at 1:01.3721 around the streets of St. Pete, with Briscoe only running toward the end of the session but still able to clock in a 1:01.5357.
"Yeah. I actually was surprised by the lap time on used tires," Power said of his run. "I think the track picked up at the end. The Chevy obviously was the strongest engine. We made a couple adjustments off the Fast Six. The car was really good, and I was able to get pole."
Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe are on row two. “Hinch” in his first race for the team has his best career start on a road or street course, and this race marks his St. Pete IndyCar debut after missing the race last year.
Helio Castroneves made it three Team Penske cars in the top five, with Simon Pagenaud best of the Honda runners in sixth. Castroneves had an issue toward the end of the session but still made the top five.
"So, unfortunately I went over the limit of the car and end up hitting Turn 9 and I thought it was over," he said. "We weren't able to get in the top three, but the guys came fully focused to fix the car and rear suspension and in seven minutes they switched the entire suspension and we were able to go back there. Burt certainly happy for Team Penske having three cars in the top five."
Pagenaud's start position, however, will become 16th as his Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports team made an unapproved engine change after Friday practice, and incurring a 10-position penalty.
“Something didn't feel right, and I shut it down to be on the safe side. It is what it is, and that's racing,” Pagenaud said. “The HP car is nice to drive around this street circuit of St. Pete. I love street circuits; they provide you so much adrenaline rush. I still think we'll be good."
None of the four-car Ganassi brigade made the Firestone Fast Six, although all made it through their group stage of qualifying into the top 12. Rubens Barrichello was just outside the top 12, and starts 14th.
"Our setup wasn't where it needed to be obviously," said Dario Franchitti. "I don't think its by accident the Chevy guys were up there. We'll just keep our heads up and get the work done. We still have some tricks up our sleeve."
The highest Lotus engine runner was Alex Tagliani for Team Barracuda - BHA, in 17th. Dragon Racing teammates Katherine Legge and Sebastien Bourdais had fraught sessions and are on the last row, but are at least slated to start following an offseason of tumult on whether or not they'd even have a Lotus engine.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.3721s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.5357s + 0.1636s
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.9321s + 0.5600s
4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.9701s + 0.5980s
5. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.9987s + 0.6266s
6. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton DW12-Honda 1m02.1095s + 0.7374s
7. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m01.7636s Top 12
8. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.7895s Top 12
9. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m01.8699s Top 12
10. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m01.9570s Top 12
11. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m02.0233s Top 12
12. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 1m02.5084s Top 12
13. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m02.5146s Group 1
14. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m02.2009s Group 2
15. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 1m02.6015s Group 1
16. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 1m02.2538s Group 2
17. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Lotus 1m02.6506s Group 1
18. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevrolet 1m02.4426s Group 2
19. Josef Newgarden Fisher Hartman DW12-Honda 1m02.7155s Group 1
20. James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 1m02.5271s Group 2
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 1m02.8218s Group 1
22. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m03.0437s Group 2
23. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold DW12-Lotus 1m02.8771s Group 1
24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet 1m03.3591s Group 2
25. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Lotus 1m03.6048s Group 1
26. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Lotus 1m05.6858s Group 2