Charlie Kimball led the Honda field Friday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, qualifying fifth for Saturday night’s season-ending MAVTV American Real 500. Kimball’s two-lap average of 217.986 mph will place him on the second row of the three-wide starting grid being used for the 500-mile IZOD IndyCar Series event.
James Jakes and IndyCar championship points leader Scott Dixon posted identical qualifying speeds of 217.979 mph, but Jakes was placed ahead of Dixon on the provisional starting grid based on the tie-breaker of posting his speed first. Honda-powered Dixon comes to Auto Club Speedway with a 25-point lead over rival Helio Castroneves in the drivers’ championship standings, and can secure his third Indy car championship with a finish of fifth or better, regardless of where Castroneves finishes.
Josef Newgarden continued his streak of strong oval qualifying performances in 2013 and will start 10thfor Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Newgarden also posted top-10 qualifying runs on the Texas and Milwaukee ovals earlier this season.
Saturday night’s 250-lap race, the 19thand final round in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series to decide both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships, starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Scott Dixon(#9 Target Chip Ganassi RacingHonda Dallara) championship points leader, qualified 7th: “I didn’t know we did the exact same time [as James Jakes]. A three-wide start should be pretty interesting around here, but it’s fun to come back to Fontana for the championship finale. It’s fun to be in this position and fight for the championship.”