“In qualifying today, it’s one of those deals where on the odds you’re thinking to wait a little bit and it might pay off because the track might be better,” Castroneves said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off for us as the red flag came out and ended the second qualifying a little early. The PPG Team Penske boys will keep working and move forward so we can get that Chevy to the front in tomorrow’s race.”
The 20th pole of Dixon’s career breaks a tie with Danny Sullivan and moves into a tie with Gordon Johncock for 14th on the all-time pole list.
Power, who moved up to seventh in the standings with his victory last Sunday but is 100 points out of the lead, was the only Chevrolet driver to make the Fast Six.
“Q1 was pretty straightforward and then Q2, same until I saw Scott go out on used tires and we considered it but lap time was quite a bit slower so we opted for the new,” Power said. “I got through, no problem, and obviously the Fast Six was very tight between him and I.
“I’m still pretty happy to be on the front row, seems like the Honda guys ‑ I’m the only Chevy guy here, so waving the flag for them. Hopefully I can wave it real high tomorrow. I still think Chevy and Honda are pretty even. It seems as though the Honda has definitely got some nice mid‑range there, but I think it kind of zeros out with our Top‑10.”
It has not been the best of weeks for IndyCar in terms of interpretation of the rules but in regards to controversy fueling a buzz this might actually be good for the sport.
“I haven’t really seen too much of it,” Dixon admitted of last week’s incident and the ensuing criticism that followed. “Obviously with the inner team, that was about it. But once I got home, I think I got home about mid might on Sunday after the race in Sonoma and hung out with the kids, came to D.C. on Wednesday, USA Today ‑ we haven’t focused on it. It was an unfortunate part, obviously, last week, to our season. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, which is the positive side.
“I think IndyCar are doing their best to make some changes. I think the whole pit road thing had got a little relaxed. We didn’t even have pit boxes marked. There were a lot of things that needed addressing.
“So you know, we obviously didn’t like what happened, but I think it will make for better calls on pit road in the future.”
Simon Pagenaud was third in a Dallara/Honda for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports at 1:18.4307 (23.637 mph) followed by Justin Wilson’s Honda at 1:18.8698 (93.115 mph). Josef Newgarden was fifth at 1:18.9022 (93.077 mph) and rookie Vautier rounded out the Fast Six at 1:19.0380 (92.917 mph) for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Rahal was furious with Vautier after the driver from France plowed into the back of his car long after it had already hit the tire barrier.
“The second impact was … just stupid,” Rahal said. “It’s just stupid. Where are the teams to radio that? I’m not surprised by Vautier because he just doesn’t pay attention. We all know that by now. But where are the teams saying, ‘Hey, Graham’s parked in Turn 8.’ It’s dangerous to still be green. I really don’t get it. I made the mistake, I crashed and I take blame for that. I got in a hair too deep and it bit me but at the same time I’m just disappointed that stays green. It’s just very dangerous.
“It’s just the way it goes.”