Sato over 220 mph to get IndyCar Series pole at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Takuma Sato went over 220 mph in qualifying Friday to earn the pole for the IndyCar Series race at Texas.
Sato got his ninth career pole with a two-lap qualifying average of 220.250 mph on the high-speed 1½-mile oval. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver, who is fifth in season points, won from the pole at Barber Motorsports Park two months ago.
The only other Texas qualifier over 220 mph was defending race champion Scott Dixon at 220.162 mph. Dixon is coming off a win in the second Detroit race last weekend.
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud and Spencer Pigot filled out the first three rows for Saturday night’s race. IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden qualified seventh.
The last driver to win from the pole at Texas was Ryan Briscoe in 2010.
Will Power qualified 15th, which will be his lowest starting position in a race since Long Beach early in the 2015 season.
This is the third race in a row that Power qualified outside the top 10. The only other time he had a streak that long was during his first IndyCar Series in 2008, when he had five in a row.
Tony Kanaan hit the wall during qualifying and didn’t post a time, so he will start the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet at the back of the 22-car field.
It’s been a tough season for Kanaan at the Foyt team, which is 18th in points with only one top-10 finish.
Even before the qualifying miscue, Foyt said during the NBCSN broadcast that he can’t tolerate how the team is running and indicated some changes could be made.
Kanaan is set to make his IndyCar Series-record 309th consecutive start, a streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. His 369th career start overall will match Foyt for the second-most in series history.
Marco Andretti ran 218.902 mph on his first qualifying lap, but his average dipped significantly after he got loose going through the first and second turns on his second lap.
Andretti slowed down when keeping the car off the wall and his second lap was just over 196 mph. He qualified 21st with a two-lap average of 206.901 mph.
Colton Herta was the top rookie in qualifying at 10th, with an average of 218.406 mph.
The other rookies in the field are Marcus Ericsson (14th), Felix Rosenqvist (16th) and Santino Ferrucci (18th), who leads the series with 741 completed laps this season out of a possible 743.