Takuma Sato claims Texas pole by 0.02s over Scott Dixon
Takuma Sato claimed his ninth IndyCar career pole position on Friday for the DXC Technology 600.
The Japanese racer pipped defending Texas race winner and reigning series champion Scott Dixon by 0.02s, with an average speed of 220.250 mph across two laps at the Texas Motor Speedway.
The 42-year-old racing veteran cherished the pole at one of IndyCar's most famous circuits: "Here in Texas, it's kind of dreaming about it to be on pole," Sato said. "I’ve been saying that to the guys, that this is one of the iconic tracks in the NTT IndyCar Series – high banking, very fast passing. … To be on pole is great.
"Certainly the team gave us unbelievable speed in the car. Just a phenomenal feeling to go that fast through the corners. In fact, I was keeping on the lower side of the range. The car is working extremely well."
Dixon will start alongside Sato on the front row with a two-lap average of 220.162 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon fell short of winning the pole by less than 0.02 of a second over the three-mile run.
"Don't feel like we did too much wrong in that quali run," said Dixon. "(I) got a little bit loose in (Turns) 1 and 2 on the second lap; definitely scrubbed some speed. I think that could have been enough. We were actually bottoming in (Turns) 3 and 4 as well. Always a few things you can clean up, (but) great starting position for us."
Honda-powered cars locked up the top four spots in qualifying. Sebastien Bourdais was third in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda (219.746 mph), his best qualifying effort in six tries at TMS. Ryan Hunter-Reay was fourth in the No. 28 DHL Honda (219.537 mph).
Simon Pagenaud led the Chevrolet brigade in qualifying. The pole sitter and winner of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge two weeks ago was fifth fastest Friday at 219.355 mph in the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet. Spencer Pigot was sixth in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy (219.099 mph).
Championship leader Josef Newgarden will start seventh after qualifying at 218.666 mph in the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden leads Alexander Rossi by 15 points going into the race.
Tony Kanaan, a winner at Texas in his 2004 NTT IndyCar Series championship season, slapped the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on the first lap of his qualifying attempt and did not register a speed in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. The nine-time podium finisher at Texas will tie team owner A.J. Foyt for second in career Indy car starts with 369 from the last position in the 22-car field on Saturday.
DXC TECHNOLOGY 600: Qualifying results