Saturday, April 20, 2013

Franchitti Rebounds With Long Beach Pole

St. Petersburg and Barber didn't goes as planned for Dario Franchitti but Long Beach qualifying turned out well for the four-time champion as the Scot won his first pole since Toronto last year. He bumped Ryan Hunter-Reay off pole position on his final lap, with a time of 1:07.2379. Hunter-Reay just missed back-to-back poles for the first time in his career. This is Franchitti's 30th career pole position and it comes in his 250th start in American open-wheel racing.

Will Power starts third with Takuma Sato fourth. Mike Conway was fifth fastest as the Brit makes his first start of the 2013 season. Points leader Helio Castroneves starts sixth.

St. Petersburg winner James Hinchcliffe will start seventh after a short outing at Barber. Tony Kanaan starts eighth with Charlie Kimball and EJ Viso making up row five. Graham Rahal will start a season best eleventh with JR Hildebrand in twelfth.

Hildebrand advanced to the Fast 12 after two penalties. The first on Scott Dixon who brought out a red flag in the final seconds of round one, group two. Marco Andretti was disqualified before the start of round two for blocking, which elevated the Californian Hildebrand to twelfth. Hildebrand's teammate Oriol Serviá was penalize for getting into the tire barrier at the end of round one, group two. The penalty on Serviá was rescinded after review.

AJ Allmendinger starts fourteenth in his first race at Long Beach since 2006. Other notables not to make it out of round one include Simon Pagenaud, Tristan Vautier, Justin Wilson, Simona de Silvestro and Alex Tagliani.

Justin Wilson was not able to make a lap after a rear wing issue prior to heading out on track.

Morning warm-up for the 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place at noon ET. NBC Sports Network's coverage will begin with Indy Lights at 3:00 p.m. ET, IndyCar pre-race at 4:00 p.m. ET and green flag scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET.