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Alabama - Qualifying times

Helio Castroneves and James Hinchliffe win the battle of qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park, following a shock first round elimination for Dario Franchitti.
Qualifying consisted of half the field running in the 15 minute Group 1 and the other half in Group 2, with the top six from each group progressing to the ten minute Top 12 session, and the top six then going through to the shoot-out Firestone Fast Six round.

Round 1 - Group 1

With the tyres looking like they were giving their best times very early in their runs, most drivers opted to wait until near the end of the session before coming out with only Alex Tagliani and JR Hildebrand coming out early.

With the clock ticking down, Mike Conway had put the AJ Foyt Racing car at the to by less than three hundredths of a second over Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves. Simon Pagenaud continued his impressive performance for Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsport ahead of EJ Viso and Hildebrand who pushed out Marco Andretti from the top six that progressed into round 2. That made it a 3-3 draw between the Honda and Chevrolet cars in the top six, with all four Lotus cars eliminated.

Josef Newgarden - who had looked so strong in Friday practice for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing - locked up and ran wide on his final flying lap attempt and had to settle for 15th place on the grid.

1. Mike Conway AJ Foyt-Honda 117.637mph 1:10.386s (6 laps)
2. Graham Rahal Ganassi-Honda 117.588mph 1:10.415s + 0.029s (6 laps)
3. Helio Castroneves Penske-Chevrolet 117.581mph 1:10.420s + 0.034s (6 laps)
4. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton-Honda 117.417mph 1:10.518s + 0.132s (5 laps)
5. EJ Viso KV Racing-Chevrolet 117.372mph 1:10.545s + 0.159s (5 laps)
6. JR Hildebrand Panther-Chevrolet 117.356mph 1:10.555s + 0.169s (6 laps)
7. Marco Andretti Andretti-Chevrolet 117.195mph 1:10.651s + 0.265s (5 laps)
8. Josef Newgarden SFHR-Honda 117.139mph 1:10.685s + 0.299s (5 laps)
9. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon-Lotus 117.072mph 1:10.726s + 0.339s (5 laps)
10. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne-Honda 115.719mph 1:11.552s + 1.166s (6 laps)
11. Simona de Silvestro HVM-Lotus 115.688mph 1:11.572s + 1.186s (4 laps)
12. Alex Tagliani BHA-Lotus 114.084mph 1:12.578s + 2.192s (8 laps)
13. Katherine Legge Dragon-Lotus 112.43mph 1:13.646s + 3.260s (7 laps)

Round 1 - Group 2

A particularly tough field lined up in Group 2, with two Penskes (Ryan Briscoe and Will Power), two Ganassis (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti), two Andrettis (Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe) and two KV Racing cars (Tony Kanaan and ubens Barrichello) meaning that there were going to be at least a couple of top names left disappointed at the end of the session.

Knowing that he had no chance of making it through (and having a ten-place grid penalty for an engine change in any case), Oriol Servia went out and set his only flying lap early in the session on black-walled (hard compound) tyres meaning he gets to keep all of his set of red-wall (soft tyres) for race day.

Everyone else left it late, with Takuma Sato not setting the first serious time until under six minutes to go. It was almost another three minutes before his time was bested by Ryan Hunter-Reay, and then as the final moments approached there were simulatenous sub-70s laps by Will Power and Scott Dixon to go top.

However the big shock was Dario Franchitti, who was left stuck in eighth place as he stated his final flying lap attempts. He over-cooked it and locked up into turn 5,meaning that his time did not improve and he was eliminated at the first hurdle.

Also failing to progress to round 2 was Rubens Barrichello, who was bumped out of the top six by a late flyer from Kanaan. Barrichello lamented the loss of practice on Friday (due to rain) and the total wipeout of Saturday morning practice (due to fog delaying the arrival on site of the medical helicopter) which meant that he was on the backfoot with regards to track familiarisation.

1. Will Power Penske-Chevrolet 118.535mph 1:09.853s (3 laps)
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi-Honda 118.349mph 1:09.963s + 0.110s (3 laps)
3. James Hinchcliffe Andretti-Chevrolet 118.207mph 1:10.047s + 0.194s (4 laps)
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti-Chevrolet 117.645mph 1:10.381s + 0.528s (5 laps)
5. Ryan Briscoe Penske-Chevrolet 117.47mph 1:10.486s + 0.633s (6 laps)
6. Tony Kanaan KV Racing-Chevrolet 117.408mph 1:10.523s + 0.670s (4 laps)
7. Rubens Barrichello KV Racing-Chevrolet 117.336mph 1:10.566s + 0.714s (4 laps)
8. Takuma Sato RLL-Honda 117.262mph 1:10.611s + 0.758s (5 laps)
9. Dario Franchitti Ganassi-Honda 117.156mph 1:10.675s + 0.822s (5 laps)
10. James Jakes Dale Coyne-Honda 117.028mph 1:10.753s + 0.900s (7 laps)
11. Charlie Kimball Ganassi-Honda 116.032mph 1:11.359s + 1.507s (6 laps)
12. Ed Carpenter ECR-Chevrolet 115.213mph 1:11.867s + 2.014s (4 laps)
13. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold-Lotus 112.907mph 1:13.335s + 3.482s (8 laps)

Round 2 - Top Twelve

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe tries to stay warm at a chilly Kentucky Speedway [Photo credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson [credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]

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