Will Power will start from the pole position and Helio Castroneves will start sixth Saturday night for Team Penske in the Firestone 550 after a strong Friday qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway.
Power recorded a two-lap average of 219.182 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet around the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval for the 31st pole position of his career and second in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
“The Verizon Chevrolet handled the way we needed it to for a fast lap and it was able to be consistent for multiple laps,” said Power, whose first pole win at TMS places him in a three-way tie for seventh most poles all-time in IndyCar history. “Before you were just a passenger (in the car), now you actually have to drive the thing, before you were just wide open and hope for the best and hopefully your car is fast, but now you have to drive it. So, it’s how it should be. It should be about talent.”
Castroneves was clocked at 217.100 mph for two laps in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet and will start on the outside of the third row for Saturday’s primetime race.
“Pretty good day – we feel like the AAA Chevrolet is going to be a good car this weekend,” said Castroneves, whose three race victories at Texas Motor Speedway are tied with former Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish, Jr. for most all-time. “Since the race starts in the day we have to make sure we stay conservative and patient as the downforce changes through the night but our plan is to be right there at the end. We are definitely excited fortomorrow.”
Power has never qualified lower than fifth in five races at Texas for Team Penske. He won the second race of the Twin Firestone 275s at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011.
“It’s going to be an interesting race and I think the downforce level I’ve got is about right for good racing,” added Power. “I think some cars are a lot more than others, and if you happen to put new tires on the last restart and no one else does, you can go in the front. It will create some interesting situations and hopefully we’re at the front of all that.
Meanwhile, Castroneves is tied with Marco Andretti for the lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings after seven of 19 races this season.