Honda Racing–Dixon Leads Honda Field in Pocono Qualifying

Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led the Honda-powered field Saturday at Pocono Raceway in northeastern Pennsylvania in IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 400. 

Dixon’s two-lap average of 219.5 mph saw him qualify seventh, as local favorite Marco Andretti claimed the pole with a qualifying speed of 221.273 mph. All 21 cars posting qualifying speeds bettered the existing track record of 211.715 mph, set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, the last previous visit of Indy cars to Pocono Raceway.

Continuing his strong form on ovals, Takuma Sato posted the eighth-fastest qualifying run for A.J. Foyt Racing.  Simon Pagenaud was fourth quickest in practice, then qualified ninth in his Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda.  Charlie Kimball was an encouraging third fastest in morning practice, but a brief slide during his first qualifying lap spoiled his run, leaving him 13th overall.  Alex Tagliani crashed, without injury, during his qualifying run. 

Sunday’s 160-lap race, the second round in the 2013 IndyCar “Triple Crown” of long-distance oval events, starts at 12 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on ABC.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) qualified 7th, his sixth top-10 qualifying of 2013:  “I think the qualifying run was about what we thought it would be [after practice], which was a few miles per hour off.  We have a good car, and I love the balance of it.  We’re trimmed as much as we can be, but it’s not enough to be where we need to be right now.  This is such a cool place here in Pocono.  I really love driving this track.  The fans are amazing, and I’m looking forward to a competitive event tomorrow.  We hope to put on a great show for all these people.”