|Phoenix will have an all-Brazilian front row.|
Championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya qualified in third position, nearly a mile per hour behind Castroneves. This will be Montoya's first career start at Phoenix in an IndyCar. The Colombian made 14 Phoenix starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. His best finish in NASCAR at Phoenix was fifth. Charlie Kimball qualified on the outside of row two. This matches Kimball's best career starting position when he qualified fourth for the 2013 Fontana race. Kimball is going for consecutive top ten finishes for the first time since he finished fifth and third in the two Indianapolis races last year. Ed Carpenter will start fifth. Two of Carpenter's three career victories have come from fifth on the grid and he had won the last two races he started fifth (Fontana 2012 and Texas 2014). Scott Dixon will be on the outside of row three. Dixon is attempting to set a record for most consecutive seasons with at least one victory. Dixon has won a race in 11 consecutive seasons.
Josef Newgarden was the final driver to qualify above the 190-MPH average and he will start seventh. He finished second last year at Iowa from seventh on the grid. Newgarden has finished in the top five in the last four short oval races. Max Chilton will start eighth in his first career IndyCar oval race. Chilton finished sixth and first in his two Indy Lights oval starts last year at Milwaukee and Iowa. Will Power and Simon Pagenaud will start on an all-Penske row five. Power has won five races when starting outside the top five (Toronto 2007, Barber 2012, Long Beach 2012, Houston 2 2013, Belle Isle 1 2014). Pagenaud has never won an oval race and the furthest back he has won from was sixth at Belle Isle 2 in 2013.
Marco Andretti was the top Honda qualifier in 11th and he has gone 77 starts since his last victory at Iowa in 2011. Ryan Hunter-Reay makes it an all-Andretti Autosport row six. Hunter-Reay has won three races when starting outside the top ten and two of those have come at ovals (Indianapolis 2014, Iowa 2015). Only Scott Dixon has more victories from starting outside the top ten amongst active drivers with four. Mikhail Aleshin qualified 13th in his first oval appearance since Fontana 2014, where Aleshin was injured in a practice accident. Aleshin finished eighth at his last oval start at Milwaukee in 2014. Alexander Rossi will make his oval debut from 14th on the grid. Phoenix has been the site to the first IndyCar victory for seven drivers: Gary Bettenhausen, George Follmer, Swede Savage, Kevin Cogan, Roberto Guerrero, Robby Gordon and Jim Guthrie. It was the only victory for Follmer, Savage, Cogan and Guthrie.
Sébastien Bourdais was the slowest Chevrolet qualifier and will start 15th. Bourdais has failed to finish in the top fifteen in the last four races, the longest drought in his IndyCar career. He did finish first and ninth in the two short oval races last year. Luca Filippi will make his oval debut from 16th on the grid. Teo Fabi is the only Italian-national to win at Phoenix and Fabi was the first foreign driver to win at Phoenix in the fall of 1983. Filippi also started 16th at St. Petersburg. Jack Hawksworth qualified 17th. Hawksworth has started 17th in his only two top ten finishes on ovals. He went from 17th to tenth at Milwaukee in 2014 and from 17th to tenth last year at Fontana. Conor Daly qualified on the outside of row nine. His father Derek's best Phoenix finish was 12th in 1989. That was Derek Daly's final Phoenix start.
Graham Rahal will start 19th. He won from 19th last year at Fontana. His father Bobby won at Phoenix twice. Carlos Muñoz will start 20th after his accident in qualifying. This matches Muñoz's worst start on an oval since he started 20th at Milwaukee in 2014. Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe will start on the final row after both drivers suffered accidents in practice.
The 2016 Phoenix Grand Prix can be seen at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with green flag scheduled for 9:15 p.m. ET. The race is scheduled for 250 laps.