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Apr 27, 2014 - 11:20 AM
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2014 Barber Park: Chevrolet IndyCar Qualifying Recap
Posted by: ASkyler on Apr 27, 2014 - 11:04 AM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2014 Barber Park: Chevrolet IndyCar Qualifying Recap


Will Power, behind the wheel of his Chevrolet V6 powered No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, won the pole for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It is the third consecutive year that a Chevrolet IndyCar V6 2.2 liter twin turbo powered driver will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series field at Barber Motorsports Park.

It is also the third Verizon P1 Award for Power at Barber Motorsports Park, and he has notched two victories on the Alabama track.

"Congratulations to Will Power for a great drive in qualifying," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, Verizon IndyCar Series. "Will and Team Penske have been solid all weekend and they demonstrated it by going out first and setting a pole time in the Firestone Fast Six that no other car could beat for the balance of the session. The track’s grip was falling through the afternoon as track temps exceeded 125F with air temperature in the low 80’s; both of these conditions were impacting lap times for everyone. The fast and flowing nature of Barber Motorsports Park should provide a great race tomorrow for the fans, and hopefully a third consecutive win for Chevrolet."

Other Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers in the Firestone Fast Six were Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet who qualified fifth, and Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified sixth.

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, qualified eighth for his first race at Barber Motorsports Park.

The remaining drivers in the Firestone Fast Six were: James Hinchcliffe - second; Ryan Hunter-Reay - third, and Josef Newgarden - fourth - all Honda powered.

 

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The Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is scheduled to start Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CT with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT.. Live radio broadcast will be provided by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 209 and www.indycar.com. Race timing and scoring can also be found on www.indycar.com.

DRIVER QUOTES:

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: "It’s going to be a tough race. When it goes green, these temperatures are going to be very physical. There will be a lot of traffic and a lot of marbles so we’ll do everything we can to get the win. I love this place. It’s an awesome track. Very technical. Got to be fast. Got to be great. Definitely going to be a good race."

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: "Two of our four second-place finishes here we lost out on pit strategy so I hope we're due for a win. Heat was a big factor for us today and we were able to make the right changes with dampers for qualifying. In third round of qualifying we could have done another lap looking back, but we need to work on finding more speed for the Target car."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. AAA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: "I want to thank the AAA Insurance Team Penske boys. They’ve done a hell of a job this weekend, unfortunately, I let my boys down in qualifying. At the end of the day, it's great that we're right in the top six. It's a long race. We know we have a good setup. We’ve run well here before. We're looking forward for tomorrow."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 PPGTEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8th: "We’re gaining on it. We decided to use two sets in the first session to get an idea because we’ve been getting behind by not doing it. So we decided to do it and it was the right call. The problem is you play the penalty in the second qualifying. Kind of frustrating because we’re right there. But overall, I’m happy. We’re gaining on it. I think we have a really good race car and it’s amazing because, you know, every practice is better. Every qualifying is better. Yesterday we struggled a lot, but this morning we felt like we were better. It’s just a matter of getting the hang out it. Everyone has used the same amount of tires as I have right now. It is what it is, but it’s a better start. We’re mad because we didn’t make the top six, but I did my best qualifying by about half."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: NO. 11 TEAM HYDROXYCUT - KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: "Well that definitely was not what I expected. I’m very disappointed. The problem was we developed some understeer. We will just have to get that resolved tonight and give it our best tomorrow."

Regarding the penalty for on-track infraction: "I didn’t see him (Ryan Hunter-Reay), and no one told me he was coming. Suddenly I looked into my mirrors and there he was. My bad."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: NO. 17 KV AFS RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13TH: "Since the beginning we had the car, but we just couldn’t put a lap together. I think we went a little bit too early with tires and unfortunately I had nothing at the end and so Montoya bumped me out of sixth spot. I think we do have a great race car for tomorrow and hopefully the changing track conditions during the race won’t surprise us too much. My KV AFS crew has done a great job this weekend and tomorrow should be a good day."

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 17th: "It was a disappointing qualifying here at Barber Motorsports Park for the #83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We definitely expect more out of ourselves here at Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, but we’ll figure it out tonight and be ready to go racing tomorrow. We’re going to get some great information from the No. 9 car with it getting into the Firestone Fast 6, which is great for the team. We’ll just see what direction they’re going to go with the car and then work on making sure we can keep the same pace we had with the Firestone primary tires during the race tomorrow."

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: "Qualifying definitely did not go how we had hoped that it would. The No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet struggled to find much grip throughout all three practice sessions and then even into qualifying. We ran fairly consistently in the top ten throughout practice, so it’s just disappointing that we didn’t get past the first round of qualifying. We have some work to do tonight and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow."

MIKE CONWAY, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST: "We had a huge lockup with the front tire entering turn five on my first flying lap. That flat spotted the left front tire and the car wasn’t balanced then. It’s tough for the crew but I know they will fight hard to come back in the race. We have come from behind before and I believe we can do it again. We’ll concentrate to have a good race car now."

TONY KANAAN, NO.10 GE REVEAL CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD: "We’ve been struggling all weekend with the car. We tried something different for this session and obviously it just didn’t work. It’s just really too bad for the Target boys. It’s just not a place you want to start, but I’ve been here before. I want to make sure that everyone keeps their spirits up because there’s still a long race to go and anything can happen. My teammate made it into the Firestone Fast 6, so we’re going to look at his setup and probably go to that tomorrow and see what we can do."

POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

AN INTERVIEW WITH:

WILL POWER

HELIO CASTRONEVES

SCOTT DIXON

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Scott Dixon.

Scott, are you ready to break that second-place curse?

SCOTT DIXON: That would be nice. I think two of the second-place finishes we had before were hard-earned and we were pretty happy with it. The other two we lost on a last pit exchange or a strategy issue.

We started off the weekend really rough, as well. Had an electrical failure on the first practice which we only did one lap, and if you don't do five laps they take a set of tires off you, as well.

This morning was the first time we had a proper, new set of tires. Chasing our tails a little bit. Across the board the team didn't seem that strong, the other three getting knocked out in Q1. The heat was a factor for me. Q1 for me, struggled to make it through. Q2, made a few changes, got better. Q3, set our sights on doing one lap on the reds. We changed front and rear dampers on the car and the grip was really good.

I think we stepped on our foot again. We should have done a second lap, we maybe would have gained a 10th or two. It's tight out there, a lot of competitive cars. As a team, I think we've definitely got some work to do to find some speed for not only this race but the first couple as well.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned the heat. When we were here a few weeks ago it was much cooler. Even though you've been here several times before, does that affect yourself and the team's preparation?

SCOTT DIXON: Yes, it's very different. The engine doesn't work as well. Drivability is probably not as good. The setup. I think you kind of go down the road where it's 30 degrees cooler, you try to work the tire a lot harder. When it heats up, you're overstressing the tire. I think we had a similar feeling with that this weekend. A lot of our practices we had, especially this weekend, were cool as well.

I think we need to keep up to speed a little bit with the changes and how the track changes. But, yeah, it's vastly different from when we had the open test here. This year we're also three weeks later in the schedule so it seems a lot hotter than typical as well.

THE MODERATOR: A lot of big-name teams in the top six. Does having a multi-car team with lots of resources help with this particular track?

SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. It's probably our most tested circuit. Across the board, you have to remember, too, the big teams are bigger, have more cars, but you can really only change the dampers. The cars are spec cars.

It's great to see Josef, a hell of a driver, good to see him on top form. Unfortunately he got taken out in Long Beach. But good to see him in the top six where I think he should be a lot of time.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Scott Dixon.

Q. The IndyCars tested fairly early, 10:00 on Friday morning. Other sessions ran after that. Do you think the different rubber from the other series is making it hard to get a handle on the grip here?

SCOTT DIXON: I think, yeah, there's different factors. You have to remember the last few years it's been a lot cooler because we've been three weeks earlier on the schedule. I think also we've qualified normally around 11 a.m. or 10 a.m. because of the GRAND-AM or sports car races.

The track temperature is 30 or 40 degrees warmer than you typically have. That's a big change. Plus there's small categories, different tires, that make the track greasier. But I think the temperature is the biggest difference.

Q. Scott, you were ninth fastest on Friday, third earlier today in practice. Where did the speed come from today compared to yesterday?

SCOTT DIXON: We finally got a set of tires to put in. We only used one and a half sets until qualifying. Sometimes if you don't do the five laps in the morning practice, you lose a set. People outside the top 10 get an extra set as well.

Just trying to manage. You don't know how the blacks are going to be, so you don't want to burn them up before the race in case you need them. I think it was biggest thing in getting speed for us was just getting a new set of tires on the car.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, good luck in the race tomorrow.

SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Helio Castroneves is joining us.

Could you feel more confident coming into this race because you know that Team Penske is so strong here?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: I want to thank the boys. They did a hell of a job this weekend. Unfortunately, I let my boys down in qualifying. We were extremely fast and I take the blame for that.

In the end of the day, it's great that we're right in the top six. It's a long race. Obviously when we practice here, it's completely different conditions. I'm sure they probably said that.

Yeah, no, it feels great. We know we have a good setup. We ran well here before. We're looking forward for tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: We'll introduce our polesitter, Will Power.

Will, we were talking to Helio. What is it about Penske Racing that has this track so figured out?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I don't know. I think it's all pretty close, to be honest. I was thinking it was going to be very tough to beat the Andretti boys, they've been so fast around here. But I was able to do one lap each time on my tires, so I had two shots at it. It was awfully close. Nothing between everyone.

But very happy to be on pole. It was definitely the aim. Puts you in a much better position to keep out of trouble on the start. Try to get another win.

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.

Q. Will, what was the big change you made in the car to get you to P1 right now?

WILL POWER: The springs we're running. The 100-pound springs (laughter).

Minor changes all weekend. I've been basically chasing the Andretti guys to find how they're going so bloody fast. Obviously in qualifying we did.

I think we got a good racecar from what I've seen on all the tires. So we'll see. Always a lot of action in IndyCar. You survive, have a shot at the win.

Q. Will, are you still making believe you're not the points leader?

WILL POWER: I don't even think about it anymore. I used to care so much about that. At some point you got to be looking at it, but right now just racing to win every time. That's just what it's got to be. Got to be an animal, man. No prisoners.

Q. What kind of animal would you be?

WILL POWER: I'd be one of those honey badgers, man. Or kangaroo, you know.

Q. Helio, you apologized to your team when you first came in here. What happened out there?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: It was a good chance. Certainly we had not only once but twice. When God gives you twice of a chance, you shouldn't give it up. Unfortunately I did. I just went a little bit too deep into the corner. Because the tires were already beat up, the front just didn't control it.

I tell you, it was awesome. Obviously, until that point it was awesome. The car was consistent through the whole qualifying. I knew what we needed to do. I was not expecting that kind of mistake.

That's why I apologize to my team because they did everything right.

Q. How much did the heat cause a problem like that?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: When we tested here, it was about 20 degrees different. It actually got everybody surprised. But it's the same for everyone. I think it threw a little curve ball in everybody's scenario because when we went out qualifying, the first group, the track was extremely difficult to control. As the red tires started coming in, everything is coming in, we never expected one lap only the red tires would be good enough.

So there was a lot of tricks that we didn't expect. But as fast cars keep going, top six, who has the more consistent cars through the run.

Q. Helio, I know you're very disappointed, but you've always been fast here. If you have a fast car, aren't you confident that you can pass? You still made the top six.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, no, I'm extremely confident. Today, because of the mistake, obviously I want to let it out. I don't want to hold any grudge for tomorrow because tomorrow is another day. Because what we show and what we saw, my car was extremely fast. I feel that as we heard everyone saying, everybody has a good chance.

It's going to be a tough race. This place is typically not very easy to pass because of the high-speed corners. The tire consumption also is something that could be playing a factor during the race. That's why it's going to be exciting.

It might not be, you know, like Long Beach when we had a lot of people taking a lot of chances. But I feel that it will be more like strategy. That's where it becomes very interesting.

Q. Can you pass here?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Oh, you can, yeah. Certainly we're going to be in the scenario where one car the tires are going away a little bit faster than others, people will start taking a little bit more chance. It will be an exciting race for sure - like last year.

Q. Will, you've earned so many poles. You're usually the guy it seems is considered the fastest. Is it because you drink a bigger bottle of water than everybody else?

WILL POWER: My sponsor, Evian. Have to drink that. Evian, man. Straight out of the Alps in France. Pretty nice.

.

Q. Will, Pagenaud said after Long Beach he's not clear about what is and what is not acceptable on the track. Coming into this weekend, is that something that needs to be clarified or is Long Beach a freak weekend?

WILL POWER: It is actually what they told us pre-season.

Yeah, I think there needs to be some clarification of how far up you need to be, what clean racing is. Like I said, what happened between Pagenaud and myself, I feel bad. He had every right to be really angry.

I think the payback system is not going to work very well for us with these cars and the tracks we go to. It will become dangerous. We'll talk about it in the drivers meeting, come up with some compromise or I don't know.

Whatever it is it is.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Good luck in the race tomorrow.


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