Honda Racing–Conway, Dixon Shine in Baltimore

Conway, Dixon Shine in Baltimore Qualifying

Mike Conway and Scott Dixon led the Honda-powered field Saturday in IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying for the Grand Prix of Baltimore, posting the second- and third-quickest times in the final-round Firestone “Fast Six” shootout.

Conway’s qualifying effort was his best of 2012, and equaled his IndyCar Series career-best qualifying at the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama in 2010. But the A.J. Foyt Racing driver will have a 10-spot grid penalty assessed for an unapproved engine change between the Sonoma and Baltimore races, which will result in a 12th-place race start.

That will move Dixon, the third-fastest qualifier and one of the few remaining championship challengers to pole winner Will Power, to second on the starting grid. Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dario Franchitti, made it three Hondas in the top five qualifying positions; followed by Charlie Kimball, seventh, Justin Wilson in ninth and Bruno Junqueira, substituting for the injured Josef Newgarden, rounding out the top 10. IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud starts 12th.

Mike Conway (#14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda) 2nd quickest in qualifying, best qualifying performance of 2012: “We went out this morning and the car’s balance was really good, so we didn’t really change anything for qualifying. We were just trying to find a little bit more on the last lap [going for the pole time] and went too much [hitting the wall on the chicane exit]. We’re happy to qualify second, but with the engine change, we will start 12th. It’s going to make our [race] day tomorrow a bit more challenging, so we will see where we stack up during the first few laps and then determine our strategy.”