Saturday, June 6, 2015

Morning Warm-Up: Texas 2015

Will Power looks for his second career victory at Texas
Will Power won his fourth pole position of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season and his third consecutive pole position at Texas Motor Speedway. The Australian has a win and finished second last year at the 1.5-mile oval. Power has four consecutive top ten finishes at Texas. Simon Pagenaud makes it an all-Penske first row. It is the seventh time Penske has swept the front row. Pagenaud has finished sixth and fourth in two of his three Texas starts. His worst finish is 13th in 2013. Hélio Castroneves will start third. The Brazilian has four victories at Texas. He won from third in 2006. Carlos Muñoz will start fourth. This is the best starting position for an Andretti Autosport entry this season. Juan Pablo Montoya makes it four of the top five for Team Penske.

Graham Rahal will join Montoya on the outside of row three. This is Rahal's best start on an oval since starting sixth at Iowa in 2013. Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan make it an all-Ganassi row four while Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam make it an all-Ganassi row five. Dixon's lone Texas victory came seven years ago while Kanaan's lone Texas victory was nearly 11 years ago. This will be Kimball's first top ten start of the season. Last year, Kimball's first top ten start did not come until the 12th race of the season at Iowa, where he started eighth. This will be Karam's first career top ten start.

Marco Andretti will start 11th with James Jakes joining him on row six. Andretti has three top fives in ten Texas starts. Jakes' first career top ten finish came at Texas in 2012. He finished 12th in his last Texas start in 2013. Takuma Sato will start 13th. Sato finished fifth in the first Twin 275 in 2011. Outside of that top five, Sato's average finish in his other five Texas starts is 17.6 and he has retired in three of his six starts. CFH Racing teammates Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter round out the top fifteen. Newgarden's best Texas finish is eighth with finishes of 11th and 13th in his other two starts. Carpenter won last year's race and finished fourth the year before. Prior to 2013, Carpenter had never finished in the top five at Texas.

Tristan Vautier starts 16th, his best career start at Texas. Jack Hawkworth starts 17th. The furthest back a winner has come from at Texas is 17th and it was Justin Wilson, a fellow British driver who won from 17th in 2012. The most recent winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series Sébastien Bourdais starts 18th. The Frenchman has finished 20th in his two Texas starts. Ryan Briscoe and Gabby Chaves round out the top twenty. This is Briscoe's worst start at Texas while this will be Chaves' first start at Texas and Chaves was third fastest in final practice.

Ryan Hunter-Reay starts 21st. The Texas-born driver had an accident in the pre-qualifying practice but in the final practice, he was fifth fastest. Pippa Mann will start 22nd with Stefano Coletti rounding out the grid.

NBCSN's coverage of the Firestone 600 will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET with green flag set for 8:50 p.m. ET.