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Castroneves takes pole position at Barber

The red flag meant that Hunter-Reay had his times deleted for bringing out the caution, while Power's final flying lap (easily the fastest of the session) was incomplete and discounted from the time sheets. The final member of the Penske trio, Ryan Briscoe, was hit by clutch control issues and was unable to set a time in round 2, while the third Andretti driver - Marco - narrowly failed to progress from his round 1 group.

"We had a good first session and felt really good heading into the second round of qualifying with the #2 Hitachi car," said Briscoe. "We just had a problem with the clutch control unit and first gear. We could get it in first gear but the car wouldn't actually leave the gear. It's pretty disappointing because I really felt we had a car that was capable of winning the pole."

The stuttering performance of so many of the big names gave a chance for some strong showings for the so-called "little" team, such as Mike Conway putting the AJ Foyt Racing car onto the third row of the grid for Sunday alongside Scott Dixon.

"First time we've been in the Fast Six!" said a delighted Conway. "We made some changes overnight and they were good today. I just want to keep up all the good work and keep it up at the front."

Panther Racing's JR Hildebrand will starting behind Dixon and Conway, alongside KV Racing's Tony Kanaan who opted to pursue a tyre strategy and stay on the harder compound 'black-wall' tyres for the final Firestone Fast Six round and save the softer 'red-wall' tyres for the race.

“We went out, we knew we were going to be sixth at the time to save the reds for tomorrow," confirmed Kanaan. "I think warm-up tomorrow will be quite busy because everyone is going to be trying to figure out what to do for the race - we actually used the Firestone Fast Six this morning to start doing that, which helped me to get ahead of the game."

Earlier in the morning, the drivers lost their Saturday morning practice session because of heavy fog in the area delaying the arrival of the medical helicopter. With a packed schedule of support events, the session could not be extended and so the cars barely got in an installation lap before the chequered flag came out - which particularly hurt new drivers such as Rubens Barrichello who needed the track familiarisation time more than most.

"Oh, well. Once again I missed the next round by one thousand of a second," he lamented. "I wasn't able to run the morning session because of the fog and track time is so valuable for me, but no excuse, I have to get better and I will."

See also:
Full qualifying times and group/round summaries
Starting grid positions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama




Related Pictures

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Helio Castroneves in the #3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Helio Castroneves celebrates after winning the pole position and displays the pole prize cheque for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on March 31 2012. [Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo USA]
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Rain drops on a space nose cone for Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe`s car in Canadian mode (Photo By Chris Owens for IndyCar media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay gets a new ride (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with the winner`s trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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