Castroneves leads teammates in qualifying
18 September 2010 – Helio Castroneves earned his fourth PEAK Performance Pole Award in the past five years on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval with a two-lap average of 201.992 mph. The pole winner has won three times and finished second in the seven previous years.
“This track is so challenging and I'm very, very excited that we are starting in the top three spots,” said Castroneves, who won in 2006. “Hopefully, we finish like that as well in the race.
“We're going to try to get the win for Team Penske, but the big deal in the points is tomorrow for the race. We're going to make sure that we just execute. We don't need to panic, we just need to execute. So the ball is in our court now and just we can make it happen.”
Ryan Briscoe (201.594), who saw a chance to wrap up the drivers’ title last year wither at Twin Ring Motegi, also will be on the front row. Power, the final qualifier of 25, posted a two-lap average of 201.463 mph. Appropriately, Power and Franchitti (200.964) will share Row 2.
“As a team, we're due for a good finish,” said Power, who’s seeking his first IZOD IndyCar Series oval victory. “I'm very happy about the starting positions. We hope we can execute in the race and get some points back.
“I think (in the race it’s) really difficult to pass. I think you're going to have to move through the traffic well. And sometimes this race does come down to strategy. So, as a team, if we just don't make any mistakes, I think we can all finish in a very good position. I think that's going to be the key to winning this race. I've just got to follow these guys and keep Dario behind me.”
Power is making his debut at the track; Franchitti has finished second and third his past two visits.
"I think we have a better race car than qualifying car," said Franchitti, who finished first and fifth in the past two oval races. "It’s a great racetrack that really produces great racing."
Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay are behind Franchitti, and E.J. Viso of KV Racing Technology recorded his best start on an oval this season in eighth. Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon will start ninth.
Takuma Sato, who saw limited track time because of a crash early in the first practice session, led the three drivers with Japanese heritage with a 10th-place starting spot. Hideki Mutoh will start 17th and Roger Yasukawa 21st.
“I think KV Racing Technology won the day,” said Sato, whose army of fans greeted his qualifying effort with a standing ovation. “It’s a great result for the whole team. After we had such a difficult situation in the morning, the whole team, crew members from all three cars, came together to work on my car.
“Even though I only ran a few laps during the second practice, I want to thank the engineers for giving me a car that gave me the confidence to attack the most challenging oval in the series during my qualifying run. The next step is to review all the data from today and hopefully we will have a good race.”