Just weeks after his shock Indianapolis 500 pole, Alex Tagliani repeated the trick by topping qualifying for the first of tomorrow's IndyCar races at Texas.
The Sam Schmidt driver completed his two laps at an average speed of 215.816mph, putting him just ahead of second-placed Dario Franchitti's 214.801mph. Penske's Will Power was just behind his Ganassi rival with an average of 214.716.
"I think a lot of people don't realize that 2010 was a lot of effort, but because of the time constraints we were just building a team," Tagliani said. "From the end of the winter up to this race, I think I've seen a lot more time spent on making the car go fast. Now, I think we are going to get a good momentum and I hope it's going to get better and better."
"It was a good run out there Verizon car," Power said. "I was flat and on the white line for both laps. We have some work to do tonight in practice to find a good race trim, but we should be good. We get two shots at it tomorrow and I'm definitely ready to race."
There were surprises right through the field, starting with former Formula 1 driver Takuma Sato, who will start from fourth in the KV Racing Technology entry after producing a 214.470mph average.
Indy Lights veteran Wade Cunningham's IndyCar debut with Sam Schmidt got off to an encouraging start, the New Zealander putting himself eighth on the grid between Ganassi's Scott Dixon and Penske's Ryan Briscoe.
Paul Tracy will start from 21st in the second of the five races he is contesting with Dragon Racing this year.
The grid for the second of tomorrow night's races will be determined by a random draw after race one.
Pos Driver Team Speed
1. Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt 215.186
2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 214.801
3. Will Power Penske 214.716
4. Takuma Sato KV 214.470
5. Ed Carpenter Sarah Fisher 214.373
6. Tony Kanaan KV 214.252
7. Scott Dixon Ganassi 214.021
8. Wade Cunningham Sam Schmidt 214.013
9. Ryan Briscoe Penske 213.891
10. Danica Patrick Andretti 213.850
11. JR Hildebrand Panther 213.458
12. Vitor Meira Foyt 213.429
13. Helio Castroneves Penske 213.232
14. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 213.023
15. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 212.970
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 212.938
17. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 212.797
18. Davey Hamilton Dreyer & Reinbold 212.555
19. EJ Viso KV 212.494
20. Graham Rahal Ganassi 212.404
21. Paul Tracy Dragon 212.305
22. Mike Conway Andretti 212.260
23. Marco Andretti Andretti 212.223
24. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 212.221
25. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 212.091
26. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 212.033
27. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 211.762
28. Jay Howard Rahal/Schmidt 211.691
29. Simona de Silvestro HVM 210.855
30. James Jakes Dale Coyne