With nearly 700 E85-fueled horsepower on tap from their twin turbocharged V6 engines and tightly packed, closely-matched fields of drivers in spec Dallara chassis, IndyCar might just deliver the most exciting racing on four wheels … when it’s dry. The 2014 season of IndyCar racing got off to a slow start today on the streets of St. Petersburg, where rain halted progress for several hours while the teams fretted about the changing track conditions. I’ve got the final timing and scoring below, however, so be warned, DVR people: spoilers abound.
|Car No.||Driver||Engine||Grid Pos.|
|34||Carlos Munoz (R)||Honda||7|
|98||Jack Hawksworth (R)||Honda||8|
|7||Mikail Aleshin (R)||Honda||15|
|18||Carlos Huertas (R)||Honda||17|
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||18|
That’s right, kids. AJ Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato claimed the first pole of the 2014 IndyCar racing season in commanding fashion. After running fastest in practice, the ex-Formula 1 driver was the quickest of the final “Fast Six” knockout qualifying session, prevailing after a long, hard day of nasty weather that saw a section of the event’s grandstands get evacuated.
“It’s a fantastic day for us,” said Sato. “You could not ask for a better start to the season. AJ (that would be the great AJ Foyt, Satos’ team owner) is very happy, and you all know how difficult that is! We completed an extensive winter test program for the first time … I think that is helping us better achieve our true potential.”
Today’s performance marks Sato’s 4th career pole- but victory at the tight St. Petersburg street circuit is far from assured. Tony Kanaan starts right alongside Sato’s ABC-sponsored Honda in his own Target Chevy, and the awesome might of team Penske Racing is sure to make itself known sometime after the first round of pitstops, if history is any sort of guide. It’ll be good, and I’ll definitely be watching the race tomorrow on ABC.
Sources | Photos: Honda, RaceControl.