FORT WORTH, TX (93.7 The Fan) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato edged PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon to win the pole position for Saturday night’s NTT IndyCar Series DXC Technologies 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Sato’s two-lap average of 220.250 mph was a tick faster than Dixon’s 220.162 mph, which on the stopwatch was less than 0.02 of a second over the three-mile run on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval.
“I’d like to say a great thank you to the team,” said Sato, who’s pole was the ninth of his 10-year IndyCar Career. “It’s been a great weekend. I’ve been kind of dreaming about it, being on pole. I’ve been saying to the guys, that this is one of the iconic tracks in the NTT IndyCar Series, with high banking and very fast passing. Just a phenomenal feeling to go that fast through the corners. Huge credit to the engineering side, and my engineer, of course, Eddie Jones. I was very happy for the boys too.”
“I think we just came up short by a about a hundredth of a second,” said Dixon, at three-time winner at TMS. “Great effort by the whole team and the PNC Bank crew today. I got a little bit loose in (Turns) 1 and 2 on the second lap, definitely scrubbed some speed. Obviously, the conditions are a bit different than what we’ll see in the race, but I’m optimistic we have a good car and we’ll be able to fight Saturday night.”
Honda-powered cars locked up the top four spots in qualifying with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan’s Sebastien Bourdais qualifying third in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda (219.746 mph) and Andretti Autosports Ryan Hunter-Reay fourth in the No. 28 DHL Honda (219.537 mph).
“A really solid effort by the No. 18 SealMaster team,” said Bourdais. “Honda gave us great power and we put it to use. I actually turned the fastest lap in qualifying on lap 1. I maybe pushed it a little far that lap, so we had a drop-off on lap 2.”
“Overall, the run was pretty good, I think,” said Hunter-Reay. “We have a lot more speed than we had at Indy and I’m definitely happy about that.”
The fastest Chevrolet-powered car was Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske, who’s two-lap average was 219.355 mph.
Pagenaud’s teammate and series points leader Josef Newgarden will start seventh after qualifying at 218.666 mph. Newgarden leads Andretti’s Alexander Rossi by 15-points going into the race.