IndyCar » 14 April 2012
Long Beach - Qualifying times
Briscoe set the first strawman target time of 1:14.3700s with his first lap but this was immediately topped by Dario Franchitti with a 1:10.8612s. Briscoe's response was to drop below 70s for the first time in round 2 with a lap of 1:09.3962s.
But Scott Dixon was on fire: literally. There were visible flames coming out of the Ganassi car and he was shown the black flag and directed to pit immediately for team to extinguish it, after which he was immediately ushered back out on track without missing a beat. But Dixon's problem proved more than just a cosmetic flash fire and the car was still smoking and showing signs of fire. Shown the black flag once more, he nonetheless continued out on track even as the smoke started to billow out in force. By the time he took to an escape road after the chequered flag came out, the fire finally appeared to have exhausted itself.
In the meantime Will Power had posted the best time yet seen at Long Beach, a lap of 1:08.8516s putting him ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti. Ryan Briscoe, EJ Viso and James Hinchcliffe also made it into the Firestone Fast Six round 3, just bumping Josef Newgarden to seventh place.
That meant that once again Chevrolet had proven their domination of the sharp end of qualifying, with five of the six round 3 cars all sporting Chevy engines. The difference is that with the ten-grid penalty imposed on all Chevrolet teams for an unscheduled engine change, Franchitti would automatically inherit pole position for the start of the Toyota Grand prix of Long Beach - and Newgarden would start alongside him on the front row.
1. Will Power Penske-Chevrolet 102.9mph 1:08.852s (3 laps)
2. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti-Chevrolet 102.819mph 1:08.905s + 0.054s (4 laps)
3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi-Honda 102.702mph 1:08.984s + 0.132s (6 laps)
4. Ryan Briscoe Penske-Chevrolet 102.663mph 1:09.010s + 0.158s (4 laps)
5. EJ Viso KV Racing-Chevrolet 102.645mph 1:09.022s + 0.171s (5 laps)
6. James Hinchcliffe Andretti-Chevrolet 102.619mph 1:09.040s + 0.188s (5 laps)
7. Josef Newgarden SFHR-Honda 102.575mph 1:09.070s + 0.218s (3 laps)
8. Helio Castroneves Penske-Chevrolet 102.553mph 1:09.085s + 0.233s (5 laps)
9. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne-Honda 102.543mph 1:09.091s + 0.239s (5 laps)
10. Tony Kanaan KV Racing-Chevrolet 102.383mph 1:09.199s + 0.347s (5 laps)
11. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton-Honda 102.37mph 1:09.208s + 0.356s (5 laps)
12. Scott Dixon Ganassi-Honda 102.137mph 1:09.366s + 0.514s (4 laps)
Round 3 - Firestone Fast Six
With pole position secured and little to gain by pushing things in round 3, Dario Franchitti would have been justified in taking his time and concentrate on tyre strategy rather than worry about qualifying positions. That left the Chevrolet runners of Ryan Briscoe, EJ Viso, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay to jockey for the best of the grid-penalty positions.
In fact Franchitti was first out of pit road as the clock ticked ticked to the halfway point of the ten minute session, with the Chevy cars following hot on his heels. Franchitti set a time of 1:09.7511s, but this was soon bettered by Penske duo Ryan Briscoe (1:08.6089s) and Will Power (1:08.7073s).
Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay also ducked under the 69s mark with a lap of 1:08.7163s, while Franchitti showed that he was not just sitting back and coasting to pole position by improving his time to 1:09.0327s by the time the chequered flag, just three hundredths of a second faster than EJ Viso who was the best of the KV Racing stable at Long Beach.
While Briscoe will be bumped back on the starting grid on Sunday, he's still credited with winning pole position and receives both the bonus prize money and the championship points for doing so. Best of all as far as he's concerned, he has the bragging rights over his team mate and fellow Aussie Will Power for once.
1. Ryan Briscoe Penske-Chevrolet 103.264mph 1:08.609s (4 laps)
2. Will Power Penske-Chevrolet 103.116mph 1:08.707s + 0.098s (4 laps)
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti-Chevrolet 103.102mph 1:08.716s + 0.107s (4 laps)
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi-Honda 102.63mph 1:09.033s + 0.424s (4 laps)
5. EJ Viso KV Racing-Chevrolet 102.584mph 1:09.063s + 0.455s (4 laps)
6. James Hinchcliffe Andretti-Chevrolet 102.365mph 1:09.211s + 0.602s (3 laps)
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