BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- With the car hooked up on the Barber Motorsports Park road course, Carlos Munoz was prepared to reset his fastest qualifying lap for the Legacy Indy Lights 100 in the closing minutes.
Munoz set a Firestone Indy Lights track record with a lap of 1 minute, 13.8509 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn circuit with 17 minutes left in the 45-minute session. Jack Hawksworth moved to P2 -- .1150 of a second behind -- with 8 minutes left and improved his lap time to close to .0898 of a second behind Munoz with 1:30 left.
Click it: Legacy Indy Lights 100 starting lineup
But a red flag for a car off course prematurely ended the session with 1:20 left, and Munoz earned his second consecutive Sunoco Pole Award to start the season in the No. 26 Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport.
"It’s not easy because the guys out there have been really quick," said Munoz, who started third and finished 14th (contact) last April at Barber. "I felt comfortable since the beginning. I was first in practice 1 and practice 2, now in qualifying. I have to maintain that in the race.
"I think we have a better car for the race than for qualifying, so that’s good. My team gave me a great car and I’m really happy for the second consecutive pole position."
Hawksworth, who won the series opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 24, will start on the front row in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car.
"In practice, we just do our thing. We don’t really work on the times, we work on what we want to work on," Hawksworth said. "(April 5) we worked on the race, made sure we had a good car for the race. This morning in qualifying, the 45-minute session we could work on the qualifying, and that’s exactly what we did.
"The car was pretty good at the end, we saved a set of tires, which I don’t think anyone else did, but certainly Carlos is on old tires for the race. So we have a set of stickers, which might bode quite well, so we’re going to see what we can do."
Sage Karam (1:14.1778) in the No. 8 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car will be joined on Row 2 by Gabby Chaves (1:14.4226).
It was Chaves who brought out the red flag as the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car went off course in Turn 14 and nosed into the tire barrier. Though he lost his quickest lap because of penalty, his second-fastest lap was good enough for fourth on the grid for the 40-lap race.