Team Penske Back on Pole; Rahal & Kimball Have Sights Set on Success in Motor City

Two weekends ago, Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing ended a Team Penske streak. Up until the Indianapolis 500, Penske cars led every 2015 race field to the green flag. This weekend in Detroit, they’ve fallen right back into their routine.

IMG_20150529_171001Will Power clinched his second Verizon P1 Award of the year this afternoon, when he landed the pole position for Race #1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. Oh, and he broke the track record in the process with a 1:16:0941 lap during the Firestone Fast 6! The previous record only stood one year.  Takuma Sato of A.J. Foyt Racing clocked a 1:16:1371 lap last season during the first round of qualifying within group 2.

Sato found himself in the Firestone Fast 6 as well, amongst the entire Penske 4-pack and KVSH Racing driver, Sebastien Bourdais. Sato was able to place P3, keeping Team Penske from occupying Rows 1 & 2 entirely. Bourdais landed outside Row 3 in P6 – his best start at this street circuit. Do these three rows seem familiar to you, but you just can’t place why? Well, I’ll tell you. We had the same drivers shooting out for the Fast 6 when we kicked off this season in St. Pete’s just 2 short… er, long… months ago. Hard to believe that’s the season is only 2 months old. Wow. But hey, even though the 6 cars in spotlight might not be in the same rolling order as the St. Petersburg grid, it might be good luck for reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Montoya. He is the only driver to win multiple races in 2015 and I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be looking to make it a trifecta.

IMAG1979_1Montoya isn’t the only driver in a groove right now though – both Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball have bragging rights as well. The former has podiumed in the past two road/street races with a P2 finish at Barber Motorsports Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also managed a P5 finish (as the highest placed Honda in the field) at the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 last weekend. Whatever “it” is that might be the key to giving Honda a solid chance at competing on a more level playing field again with Chevrolet, Graham Rahal and RLL Racing seem to be uncovering and perfecting it more-and-more every weekend.

Charlie Kimball had a pivotal Month of May. Truly, it turned his season on its heels… and technically speaking, it’s not over yet. The Ganassi Racing driver of the No. 83 finished P5 at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and made the podium with a P3 completion for the Indianapolis 500. He did not have the greatest qualifying session today, starting P17 tomorrow, but remember how solid he was in the first two May races… he started from P14  in both of those and made a safe trek through traffic to finish in the top of the pack.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Helio Castroneves when discussing Belle Isle. He starts outside Row 1 tomorrow, next to Penske teammate Power. Castroneves loves this track and its safe to say that it might be a mutual adoration. He has started from the pole here 3 times in the past – the most recent one being last year for Race #1. He has tasted sweet victory in Detroit 3 times as well (2000, 2001, 2014) with Race #2 on Belle Isle being his most recent IndyCar win. Castroneves is hungry for another win, mentioning that he and his team were ready to ‘go for it’ tomorrow. I’m relatively certain the fans wouldn’t mind having “Spiderman” back to climb the Turn 1 fence at the conclusion of tomorrow’s contest.

I will be covering the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit from Belle Isle, MI all weekend for Live Full Throttle. Stay connected:

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