Aug 2, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Sebastien Bourdais earned his second Verizon P1 Award of the season by recording the best time on his final lap in the Firestone Fast Six shootout for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
It was the 33rd career pole for the four-time Champ Car champion to tie Dario Franchitti for seventh all time. Bourdais’ 32nd pole came two weeks ago for Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto, which he won for his 32nd career victory and first since 2007.
Bourdais’ final lap of 1 minute, 24.1610 seconds in the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car overtook Josef Newgarden (1:24.6787) in the No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
“The last lap I knew I was shy and needed some more, so I just went for it and made it stick and that Mistic machine gave me everything it had," said Bourdais, who has two top-five finishes in four Indy car races at Mid-Ohio. "Things are finally starting to align for us; sometimes it’s the difference between things going your way or not going your way."
Newgarden matched his season-best qualifying effort accomplished at Texas and secured his best on a road/street course in his three seasons.
"I thought we were pretty bad last year, we didn't have a handle on what we needed and I didn't get the most out of what we needed," he said. "This year I thought we had a much better package in general. I thought we were pretty good in Practice 3, but it was so tight I was kind of happy that it rained because it spread everyone out. I thought we had a good car, it was just about managing traffic. Fortunately, we were able to pull out a good lap."
Click it: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio qualifying results
Competitors in all three rounds used Firestone rain tires as a thunderstorm that passed through Central Ohio an hour before the mid-afternoon session left a rain-soaked racing surface, which impacted lap times. The track was drying entering the final segment, but not enough to attempt using Firestone slicks.
"It was a totally different (in the Firestone Fast Six) from the first two segments, there was a developing dry line," Bourdais said. "So we went from totally outside to having to venture in not really well-known territory with wet tires, which was difficult."
Tony Kanaan, who has three consecutive podium finishes, will join Carlos Munoz on Row 2 for the 90-lap race on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. It’s the best start on a road/street course for the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who posted the quickest lap time through three practice sessions, and Will Power will be on Row 3.
Listen: Post-qualifying news conference
Power enters the 15th race 13 points behind Team Penske teammate and Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves, who qualified a season-low 15th. Hunter-Reay, the 2013 pole sitter at Mid-Ohio, is 69 points back in third.
“Unfortunately, the qualifying session was a bit crazy," Castroneves said. "Not only was it wet there were so many yellows that we only got one timed lap in. At the end of the day it was the same for everyone. We were the first car out and tried some different lines. Sometimes that is not the best place to be. It gives the other guys some direction on where to run. It is what it is, though. We’ll just have to keep working and hope the race tomorrow is better than qualifying.”
Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio, missed the Firestone Fast Six by .0117 of a second, but his seventh-place qualifying spot is the second-best (fourth at Houston 2) of the season in the No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car.
Scott Dixon, who has won four of the past seven races at Mid-Ohio, qualified 22nd as his two fastest laps in Round 1 were disallowed because of bringing out a red flag for a spin off course. Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Charlie Kimball, who earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory at Mid-Ohio in 2013, will start 20th.
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