By Amy Konrath
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Saturday, April 14, 2012) – Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske teammate Will Power traded the provisional pole four times in the final two minutes of the Firestone Fast Six 10-minute shootout, with Briscoe claiming the pole with an IZOD IndyCar Series track-record lap of 1 minute, 8.6089 seconds. Power was 0.0984 of a second back.
Briscoe earned the one bonus point and $10,000 for claiming the pole position for the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He’ll be starting 11th in the 85-lap race April 15 because of a 10-grid spot penalty incurred when Chevrolet advised all of its teams to change engines before the race weekend.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2010 race winner for Andretti Autosport, was third in the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car, while Dario Franchitti in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car was fourth quick. E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe finished fifth and sixth in the session.
All the competitors in the Firestone Fast Six but Franchitti were driving cars powered by Chevrolet engines. Because of those circumstances, Franchitti will lead the 26-car field to the green flag.
Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion who hadn’t qualified for the Firestone Fast Six in the two previous races, will be joined on the front row by rookie Josef Newgarden in the No. 67 Honda-powered Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, who qualified seventh.
Also on April 14, Sebastian Saavedra claimed his second consecutive Sunoco Pole Award, winning the pole for the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Saavedra produced a lap of 1 minute, 14.6143 seconds in the No. 27 Team AFS car on his final lap of the 45-minute qualifying session after he, Tristan Vautier and Esteban Guerrieri traded the top spot in the final five minutes of the 45-minute rally session.
Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, posted a quick lap of 1:14.7007. On the succeeding lap, though, the car clipped the tire barrier in Turn 5 and Vautier guided the car around the circuit. Firestone Indy Lights officials nullified his quick lap for impeding the progress of competitors on their final qualifying laps and he’ll start seventh.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Participants in the “Ortsbo Live & Global: IZOD IndyCar Series” event heard it first: Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello will let their hair grow — Kanaan’s pate and Barrichello’s goatee — if they wind up on the podium together in an IZOD IndyCar Series race this season.
“That would be interesting,” said Barrichello, who’s competing in his third IZOD IndyCar Series race this weekend.
The compatriots and longtime friends were guests of the “Live & Global” Q&A session, though the audience wasn’t limited to the logistics of Victory Circle at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Fellow IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe was the moderator.
Through Ortsbo’s instant live subtitling technology on the Live & Global platform, viewers around the world watched and participated in the Q&A in real-time through an online video stream with closed captioning in any one of Ortsbo’s 53 languages.
Ortsbo is the Official Online Translation Partner for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. Questions submitted during the hour-long session ranged from the Czech Republic to Mexico to Canada and, of course, Brazil.
“(The Ortsbo Live & Global: IZOD IndyCar Series) allows racing fans to experience the excitement of the race day directly from the drivers themselves, no matter where they may be in the world,” said Ortsbo CEO David Lucatch, who noted more such Q&A sessions will be scheduled this season.
Of note: Adam Carolla won the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. … Attendance for the race weekend is trending up 15 percent, according to Grand Prix officials. … Guests scheduled to be in the IZOD Performance Pit for the race include Gerard Butler, Tim Daly and Bill Fitchner.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
· This is Sebastian Saavedra’s second consectutive Sunoco Pole Award and the fifth pole of his Firestone Indy Lights career. Saavedra won the pole at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this month.
· Tristan Vautier qualified second. His third-straight front row start. Vautier won the pole at St. Petersburg and also started second at Barber.
· Esteban Guerrieri qualified third, his 17th straight top-five start in Firestone Indy Lights. It extends his series record.
· Oliver Webb qualified fourth, his third-straight top-five start.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, Sunoco Pole Award winner): “It was crazy out there. In the beginning, there were so many (red flags), I was just trying not to mess up. I knew whoever was able to do the last lap, last corner under green was going to win the pole. The #27Team AFS car was amazing. They changed the tires and we were still very fast. We managed to pull it off. I’m very happy. I think it’s very important for us to have the pole position in Long Beach because it’s such a hard place to pass.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): “I lost control in Turn 5. I got loose in the entry and ended up in the tires. And from then I was at the middle of the track, so I decided to back it up and bring it back to the pits so as not to cause a red flag and ruin the session for the other guys. So yeah, that’s it. I feel sorry for the team because they gave me a car capable of pole and they did a great job.” (About the session): “It’s really disappointing because we were very fast in practice, very fast in qualifying. We had the first incident in traffic where I brushed the wall a little bit and we lost a lot of track time. They put the car back together very quickly, and we went out for the last ten minutes and put the car in P1, but the last lap I didn’t make it.”
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
• This is Ryan Briscoe’s first pole of the season, his first pole at Long Beach and the 12th pole of his Indy car career. It is his first pole since he won the pole at Chicagoland in 2010.
• This is the fourth consecutive pole at Long Beach for Team Penske.
• Will Power qualified second. It is his fourth-straight front row start at Long Beach. He saw his streak of three-straight poles end
• Briscoe and Power exchanged the fastest lap four times in the final two minutes of Firestone Fast Six.
• James Hinchcliffe qualified sixth. He is the only driver to appear in the Firestone Fast Six in every race this season.
• Dario Franchitti and E.J. Viso qualified for the Firestone Fast Six for the first time this season.
• There were seven different teams represented in Round Two.
• There were four different teams represented in the Firestone Fast Six.
• Ryan Briscoe’s lap in Q3 (1:08.6089) eclipsed the qualifying record set by Will Power in 2011 – 1:09.0649.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, pole winner): “We’ve only done short stints so far, but I feel like the first step is having the pace, and we know we’ve got that, so that’s definitely going to be a big help to us starting from 11th tomorrow. Last year we started 12th, and through strategy ended up leading a lot of laps in the race. So we’re going to look at all of that. It’s going to be tough – it’s a really hard track to pass on, so we’re going to have to do our best and see what we can do to get to the front.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, qualified second): “It was a battle in the Fast Six for sure, that was everything I had and we threw down a mega lap. Qualifying was important because we didn’t want to end up 15th or 16th, but yeah so I’m sure we’re going to make the best out of the situation and see where we can end up. Days like tomorrow will end up being really important for the championship, just trying to get as many points as possible and work hard at strategy.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, qualified third): “It was OK, I expected a little bit more grip out there today but with only one session and 2 laps at a time here and it was tough to know what we really wanted out of the car, but it was the same for everybody, so. Tired of being that couple hundredths off of the Penske guys here, three years in a row now. Definitely wanted the pole despite the penalty we’re going to take, and that was as good a chance as I’ve ever had, and we’re going to start 13th I believe. So yeah it was a good day, but we wanted a lot more today and I’m pretty bummed about that.”
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, qualified fourth): In the Firestone Fast 6 we knew where we’d be starting regardless of what time we did, but we kind of wanted to earn it. We didn’t quite have it in the car. So we’ll go back tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, qualified fifth) “It was a very good qualifying here in Long Beach. All of the changes that have happened around me are starting to pay off now. I really like the way my crew has been working. There has been a great energy and definitely there are a lot of great things going all around my crew. I am very happy to be so fortunate to be working with this bunch of great guys. The qualifying went pretty smooth….pretty much as we had planned. We had a fast car, a stable car. We still know the parts where we need to improve. Every time we are getting closer to that. Starting fifth with the engine penalty. Whatever position we qualify, it’s welcome.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, qualified sixth): “It was a nice bounce back. We had an issue on Lap 2. Brain fade, driver error. I didn’t get a whole lot of useful running out of practice. I’m not sure what to expect. Big thanks to the Go Daddy boys because they were bolting things back together rolling out for qualifying. Q1 went pretty straight forward. Q2 lap put us comfortably into the Fast Six. Had a little problem that cost us some time because of the traffic and sort of went for it on my last lap and had pretty phenomenal smoke show in Turn 1 when both the fronts locked up, and still managed to finish the lap and just sneak into the Fast Six. Unfortunately because the (set of red) tires we need for the race, we had to run those again in the Fast Six. They had flat spots right down the canvas from one side to another. I knew I was a little handicapped going in. Still a good bounce back and happy to be in the Fast Six again. Obviously E.J. and I won’t be starting there, but I think it is going to be an interesting afternoon and hopefully we can make our way up to the front before the checkered flag falls.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “I am disappointed to not make it through to Round 2. The track was quite slippery in the beginning of qualifying and unfortunately I kissed the wall a little bit and bent the toe-link. Because of the limited time I had to continue and improved the lap time but I couldn’t make it through to Round 2. We will go through the data from today and hopefully have a good package for the race. We just need a trouble-free race and we can get a good result.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): “I think that was a good qualifying session. We made some progress. I’m a little disappointed to not be inside the top six; a few tenths would have put me right there. But we did make progress, and we were a lot closer in lap times to my teammates which is big. I’m really excited for tomorrow’s race. I think we have a great race car in the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car. We’re in shape for a good race and hopefully a top-10 finish tomorrow.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Automobile Club Team Penske Chevrolet): “We overcame what happened with the incident this morning in the No. 3 Auto Club machine with a lot of hard work. Right now, sitting eighth after qualifying plus the penalty, gives us plenty of room for strategy tomorrow. Hopefully my great Team Penske crew will make things happen and we can make up some spots on the track for a win.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC | Embrase – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I have only managed to run around 41 laps this weekend and then trying to qualify on a different tire, I ended up just a little bit off the advancing group in the first round. I really need more track time and as the race progresses I will start to get a better feel. We can’t be happy with where I am starting, but I think if I had known the track a little more, I would of done better, so hopefully tomorrow will be a good race.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Mouser Electronics | GEICO – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “The crash this morning didn’t help with trying to get track time. It was a very competitive qualifying session and we were just a little bit behind. I missed making the Firestone Fast Six by a tenth of a second and when you think of it like that, it could have gone my way just like it had done at Barber a few weeks ago or not. We just need to work on car tonight so we are ready for the race tomorrow.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “The car is not where we want it to be at the moment. Unfortunately, with the rain, we couldn’t work on the set-up. It’s the same for everybody, but we couldn’t catch up. The car is not in a happy place at the moment. We have some good direction because we basically used qualifying as a practice session for us. Thanks to our Honda-powered engine, we are starting up front. The warm-up tomorrow will be important for us, but we should be OK.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda): “It was a really good day for the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda. I made a little mistake in the last qualifying session and I think it cost me advancing to the Firestone Fast Six. The Dale Coyne Racing team has done an outstanding job giving me a great car today. We are leaps and bounds of where we were at Barber two weeks ago. With all the Chevrolet’s ahead of us having to drop 10 spots on the grid tomorrow that now puts us P3 to start the race on Sunday, which is a huge advantage at a track like Long Beach. Sometimes things don’t go your way and other times things are sometimes handed to you. Today it worked out in our favor. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow and think we have an excellent chance at a top three finish for Dale Coyne Racing.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “Despite our overall starting spot it was a very positive day for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda. We only were able to get out for one hour of practice this morning and then I hurt my wrist when my car hit the tire barrier at the end of practice. So that made it a bit harder on me when I was trying to qualify. It should be all right by tomorrow so I am not worried. The crew gave me a good car and we should be competitive in what should be a very interesting race tomorrow.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No 38 Service Central Honda): “Overall, it was kind of a tough day. Our car was really good but we had a hose clamp break in the turbo so we didn’t develop any boost and that’s why we were a little off pace. I don’t think we’re terrible but we have some work to do and that’s kind of frustrating.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It was a tough day, similar to Barber. It rained on Friday there too and we had fog on Saturday morning there. Here, it rained Friday and we had a lot of yellow flags this morning. That is a little frustrating. But we made the car better for qualifying. We went out early in the first qualifying session to get a clean lap. With the track getting better with each run, it might have hurt our lap time a bit by going early. We made good changes and improvements through qualifying. We just wanted to get as many laps as we could in qualifying since we didn’t get many laps in practice. I was happy with our time considering the lack of track time this weekend. We need to make a few more changes for Sunday and get on a proper strategy for the race. It felt good to see the sun today. It’s much more like a Long Beach day.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): “We’ve had some bad luck this weekend, but we’re just going to have to put it behind us and do the best we can tomorrow.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “I’m pretty disappointed because I really wanted to have a strong run here. The ABC car is not quite feeling the way I want yet. We just have to keep working at it.”
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Lotus Dragon Racing Lotus): “It was nice to get nine laps in a row finally this weekend. As a result of not running many laps, we had a problem in qualifying where we were on the limiter for half the front straight. But it’s just a gearing issue, which is an easy fix. So, we are happy that we can take care of that and be ready to go for tomorrow.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): “It’s pretty clear that we have a really fast car. We were fast in the wet yesterday and we were fast (fifth quickest) in the morning session. But, with the 10-spot grid penalty (due to the engine change before the event), we were prepared to give up positions in qualifying to save all of our tires for the race. This gives us the maximum number of options tomorrow. With so many cars getting penalties, the race winner might not be the fastest, but the one that’s the smartest with their tires and pit strategy.”
8-8:15 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights Warmup
9:15 – 9:45 a.m. – IZOD IndyCar Series Warmup
10:45 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Long Beach (45 Laps), NBC Sports Network (Taped, 5 p.m. April 19)
12:30 p.m. – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 Laps), NBC Sports Network, (Live).
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15 on the Streets of Long Beach, Calif. The race will be telecast live at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by NBC Sports Network. The IMS Radio Network will also carry the race live on XM Channel 94 and Sirius 212. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15. It will be telecast by NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. (ET) on April 19.
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968 mile(s) Streets of Long Beach, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine,time and speed in parentheses:
1. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.6089 (103.264)
2. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.7073 (103.116)
3. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 01:08.7163 (103.102)
4. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.0327 (102.630)
5. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.0634 (102.584)
6. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.2109 (102.365)
7. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.0697 (102.575)
8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.0846 (102.553)
9. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.0910 (102.543)
10. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 01:09.1987 (102.383)
11. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.2078 (102.370)
12. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.3658 (102.137)
13. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.9000 (101.356)
14. (14) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.8868 (101.375)
15. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:09.9796 (101.241)
16. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.3794 (100.666)
17. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.0188 (101.184)
18. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.5939 (100.360)
19. (8) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 01:10.0651 (101.117)
20. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Lotus, 01:10.6835 (100.233)
21. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Lotus, 01:10.8168 (100.044)
22. (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:10.7579 (100.127)
23. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 01:11.4519 (99.155)
24. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Lotus, 01:10.8154 (100.046)
25. (6) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Lotus, 01:12.1142 (98.244)
26. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 01:12.0590 (98.319)
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the Grand Prix of Long Beach Firestone Indy Lights Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 01:14.6143 (94.952)
2. (11) Esteban Guerrieri, 01:14.7757 (94.747)
3. (7) Oliver Webb, 01:14.8661 (94.633)
4. (26) Carlos Munoz, 01:14.9430 (94.536)
5. (2) Gustavo Yacaman, 01:15.1221 (94.310)
6. (3) Victor Carbone, 01:15.1889 (94.227)
7. (77) Tristan Vautier, 01:15.3773 (93.991)
8. (76) Juan Pablo Garcia, 01:16.0498 (93.160)
9. (22) David Ostella, 01:16.1165 (93.078)
10. (28) Nick Andries, 01:16.3997 (92.733)
11. (4) Jorge Goncalvez, 01:16.5124 (92.597)
12. (20) Darryl Wills, 01:16.8070 (92.242)
13. (24) Armaan Ebrahim, 01:16.9871 (92.026)
14. (8) Alex Jones, 01:17.3217 (91.628)
15. (9) Alon Day, 01:17.9107 (90.935)