Saturday, April 26, 2014 — official release — Al Steinberg photo — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Will Power has quite a successful record with two wins in the past four Verizon IndyCar Series races at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Team Penske driver has another shot toward stretching his championship lead in the April 27Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Power posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 8.3120 seconds in the Firestone Fast Six on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course to claim the Verizon P1 Award for the third time in five years, and padded his championship lead with a bonus point entering the third round of the season.
“It’s going to be a tough race. When it goes green, these temperatures are going to be very physical,” Power expressed following qualifying. “There will be a lot of traffic and a lot of marbles so we’ll do everything we can to get the win. I love this place. It’s an awesome track. Very technical. Got to be fast. Got to be great. Definitely going to be a good race.”
It was Power’s 33rd career pole, breaking a tie for eighth all time with Michael Andretti. He previously started from the pole in 2010 and 2011, and won the race in 2011 and ’12. In total, he’s collected 168 points — so far — at Barber.
Power holds a 28-point lead over Long Beach winner Mike Conway entering the 90-lap race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), but Conway is only competing in the 10 road/street course left on the schedule for Ed Carpenter Racing. Simon Pagenaud, who qualified 10th in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car, is 34 points back in third in the standings.
Four different teams were represented in the final 10-minute session, and the six qualifiers were separated by .3138 of a second.
James Hinchcliffe, who watched most of last April’s race from the infield following an early race incident, tied his career best of second on a road/street course (.0289 of a second behind Power) in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car for Andretti Autosport. Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the 2013 race from the pole, will share Row 2 with Josef Newgarden, who also tied his career-best qualifying effort (at Long Beach) in the No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
Scott Dixon, who has been the runner-up in all four races at Barber, qualified fifth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, and Helio Castroneves qualified sixth in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car. Castroneves won the 2010 race and has finished third the past two years. They’re the only drivers to compete in the Firestone Fast Six in all five years at Barber.