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Power takes pole in St Pete

Previous qualifying record holder Helio Castroneves, who missed the 2009 event while he fought his much-publicised tax wrangle, will share row three with Kanaan's team-mate Marco Andretti, while Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished second to Ryan Briscoe in the '09 race, only just missed advancing to the Firestone Fast Six by 0.0014secs, and will start seventh alongside FAZZT Race Team's Alex Tagliani. KV Racing Technology's EJ Viso and Dreyer & Reinbold's Mike Conway round out the top ten.

"We're disappointed with seventh, and that means the IZOD team has a pretty strong effort going," RH-R admitted, "We missed out on making the Firestone Fast Six by just thousandths of a second and missed being in the top three by half-a-tenth. It's just ridiculously close, and that's the way I felt it would be, but we'll go out and do what we did in Brazil. We'll do a good solid race, the guys will do great stops and we'll work our way to the front. The Andretti cars are obviously strong; Marco and Tony are right up there with us, and that is good to see."

The notable casualty of qualifying was reigning champion Dario Franchitti, who failed to qualify for the Firestone Fast Six for the first time when he was knocked out in the first round. The Scot started from the pole for the season-opener in Brazil and was the only driver to participate in all seven Firestone Fast Six sessions in '09, but will start 13th in the #10 Target Chip Ganassi entry, his lowest road/street course starting position since lining up 21st in 2005 at Infineon Raceway.

"We had a good run, and the car didn't slow down at all, but Ryan Briscoe had some problems of his own, and I caught him in turn eight and got held up," Franchitti commented, "That was unfortunate, as the guys made some great changes to the car, and we were pretty quick after the crash in practice yesterday."

Former race winner Graham Rahal, competing this weekend for Sarah Fisher Racing, will start a frustrated 16th after throwing all of his experience at the #67 car, but is three places ahead of Briscoe, who qualified 19th, the lowest starting spot of his IZOD IndyCar Series career on a road/street course.

"We were the first car to go out on red tyres and then we went to blacks, and it was really just bad timing," the Australian admitted, "The track got quite a bit quicker, and we needed to be on reds at the end of the session. It's a bit disappointing as the Team Penske car has been fast all weekend and we have a good car for the race, but we're going to be starting from farther back than we should be. We'll be all right. I have a great crew and the best race strategist there is. We just have to avoid any first-lap accidents, and we should be able to have a solid race."



Related Pictures

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Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: IRL/Helrigel]
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA.com Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races fastest to win the pole during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA.com Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, finishes second fastest during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Power will start in the front row next to teammate Helio Castroneves who won the pole position. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finishes third fastest during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Pagenaud and Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power had the fastest qualifying times. Castrovenes won the pole position. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium as Juan Pablo Montoya (l to r), driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar; Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Verizon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V-6 and Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6, celebrate Saturday, April 18, 2015 after finishing third, first and second in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon wins the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden apexes the hairpin turn during qualifications for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest, winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and team boss Roger Penske in conversation on pit lane during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves and team boss Roger Penske in conversation on pit lane during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a seventh-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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