Bourdais, Honda take Phoenix Pole

Bourdais, Honda take Phoenix Pole
• Sebastien Bourdais follows up season-opening St. Petersburg win with Phoenix pole
• Honda drivers claim six of top 10 qualifying spots
• Saturday night contest, first oval race of 2018, starts at 9 p.m. EDT

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 6, 2018) – Sebastien Bourdais, winner of last month’s season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, sped to the pole in Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying Friday at ISM Raceway in preparation for Saturday night’s Desert Diamond Phoenix Grand Prix.

The final driver in the 23-car field to make a qualifying run, Bourdais edged Simon Pagenaud to claim his 34th career pole, his first on an oval track since Milwaukee in 2006 and the first oval pole for his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan effort.

Alexander Rossi took his Andretti Autosport Honda to fourth in today’s single-car qualifying, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens lining up fifth and sixth, respectively. Ryan Hunter-Reay will start eighth for Honda and Andretti Autosport, with rookie Pietro Fittipaldi making his IndyCar debut tomorrow night from 10th in the field.

Television coverage of Saturday night’s 250-lap race, the first oval event of 2018, starts at 9 p.m. EDT on the NBC Sports Network.

Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) pole qualifier, 34th career IndyCar pole: “Qualifying [on the pole] was pretty big, knowing what [time] I had to go and get. I knew it was going to take it flat in [Turns] 3 and 4, and I wasn’t quite sure about [Turns] 1 and 2, how much I needed to dig, but the car was really solid. It’s high tension, high pressure. You don’t breathe very much, you just are really listening to the car, trying to make sure you don’t overdo it.”