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Fontana: Starting Grid

15 September 2012

The official starting grid line-up for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale has been published, confirming that Marco Andretti will lead off from pole position with Ryan Briscoe lining up alongside him on the front row.

Will Power, the driver leading the championship going into the title deciding Saturday night race by a slender 17pts over Ryan Hunter-Reay, qualified in third position but takes a grid penalty for changing an engine during the week which means he will start from 13th place.

The back row of the grid will be formed by Justin Wilson and Simona de Silvestro, as not only did both cars have penalties for engine changes but neither took part in qualifying as their teams were still repairing their cars from accident damage and engine failure respectively.

Power is just one of 14 drivers to be penalised, with Hunter-Reay also taking the same ten-spot grid going into Saturday night's MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championship race under the floodlights of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Hunter-Reay ended qualifying in 17th place - 14 spots behind Power - but after all the penalties have been shuffled through he will close up to nine spots behind Power by starting from 22nd place on the starting grid.

IndyCar chief executive Randy Bernard defended the current system of having starting grid penalties for team and drivers that are using too many engines too quickly during the season, despite much criticism especially after it has resulted in 14 of the 26 cars on the Fontana grid being penalised.

"I flew all over the world two years ago and talked to engine manufacturers and one of the first things they said was, 'We've seen what engines can cost you there, and we don't want any part of that,'" he explained."We had to come up with a type of rule that allowed it very fair to let everyone have equal opportunity and the way we did it was a way to keep costs down. You can't build tons of engines.

"Does it work to our fans that are confused? No," he admitted. "But does it work to keep the cost of our engines down and keep our competition thriving not at the expense of the engine manufactures, yes it does that."

Although the starting grid is official following the final on-track practice session of the weekend on Friday evening, any further teams and drivers making engine changes in the intervening 24 hours before the start of the race will still pick up a ten-place grid penalty.

Official starting grid

1. #26 Marco Andretti (C) Andretti Autosport
2. #2 Ryan Briscoe (C) Penske
3. #11 Tony Kanaan (C) KV Racing
4. #4 JR Hildebrand (C) Panther Racing
5. #20 Ed Carpenter (C) Ed Carpenter Racing
6. #8 Rubens Barrichello (C) KV Racing
7. #6 Katherine Legge (C) Dragon Racing
8. #22 Oriol Servia (C) Panther-Dreyer & Reinbold
9. #10 Dario Franchitti (H) Ganassi
10. #17 Sebastian Saavedra (C) Andretti Autosport
11. #5 EJ Viso (C) KV Racing
12. #19 James Jakes (H) Dale Coyne Racing
13. #12 Will Power * (C) Penske
14. #67 Josef Newgarden * (H) Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
15. #9 Scott Dixon * (H) Ganassi
16. #98 Alex Tagliani * (H) Bryan Herta Autosport
17. #3 Helio Castroneves * (C) Penske
18. #38 Graham Rahal * (H) Ganassi
19. #27 James Hinchcliffe * (C) Andretti Autosport
20. #77 Simon Pagenaud * (H) Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports
21. #15 Takuma Sato * (H) Rahal Letterman Lanigan
22. #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay * (C) Andretti Autosport
23. #83 Charlie Kimball * (H) Ganassi
24. #14 Wade Cunningham * (H) AJ Foyt Racing
25. #18 Justin Wilson * (H) Dale Coyne Racing
26. #78 Simona de Silvestro * (L) HVM Racing

* denotes ten place stating grid penalty applied for engine changes


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