Dixon storms to Baltimore pole

Sometimes you have things go your way, and sometimes you don’t. Last week was one of those days for Scott Dixon didn’t have things go his way where a potential win was ended by a late race penalty. In qualifying for tomorrow’s Baltimore Grand Prix, his luck was 180 degrees better.

He became the beneficiary of good luck when Graham Rahal, who was in position to advance into the Firestone Fast Six, initially brought out a local yellow but Tristan Vautier ran into the back of Rahal’s disabled car and brought out the red flag. Dixon had the 7th quickest time in the session and was suddenly in the Fast Six.

Vautier was not penalized, as per IndyCar rule 8.3.4, only the driver who initially caused the yellow is penalized.

On his final lap of the session, Dixon pulled off a fast lap of 1:18.0838 to knock provisional pole sitter Will Power of the pole. This puts him in a good position to make up some ground on Helio Castroneves after last week’s penalty.

Q1 went pretty smooth, tried to get quite tricky in Q2 and run the same set of tires but unfortunately we had a censor go on the engine, so I had no straight line speed in 2 and we still got through on that time, but we had to actually go out and run one lap on the stickers that we were trying to save for Q3, noted Dixon.  And luckily, you know, through the second stunts, as Graham kind of got his laps taken, which bumped us back in ‑‑ the car balance was really good.  Had good time in the car. Luckily we were able to fix the censor come Q3, and the car was pretty decent.  I made a mistake, actually, on my quick lap.  Lost a couple of tenths on the hairpin, so the car seems to be racked in pretty well here.

Power is the only driver to start all 3 Baltimore Grand Prix from the front row and will roll off in 2nd place.

“Obviously the Fast Six was very tight between him and I,” said Power. “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.”

Simon Pagenaud will start 3rd, his best start of the season. Justin Wilson also has his best start of the season in 4th place. Josef Newgarden made his first Firestone Fast Six of his career and will start from 5th place. Tristan Vautier recovers from an incident with Graham Rahal in Q2 to start 6th, his best start since 3rd at Barber earlier this season.

The chicane on the front straightaway again this year has proved to be trouble spot, and today the victims were Sebastian Bourdais and EJ Viso (both in group 2 of Q1). Viso’s contact with the wall littered debris over the track which curtailed several runs late in the session.

Other notables:

Points leader Helio Castroneves and fellow championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay both made it into Q2 and will start from 7th and 8th, respectively.

Younger brother of Justin, Stefan Wilson will make his IZOD IndyCar Series debut this weekend and will start from 23rd.

Starting Lineup

* Denotes 10 place grid penalty for engine change

 1.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda      1m18.0838s
 2.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy       1m18.1171s  +0.0333s
 3.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda      1m18.4307s  +0.3469s
 4.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda        1m18.8698s  +0.7860s
 5.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda       1m18.9022s  +0.8184s
 6.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda      1m19.0380s  +0.9542s
 7.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy       1m19.0288s  Round 2
 8.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy     1m19.0367s  Round 2
 9.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda      1m19.0523s  Round 2
10.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda         1m19.2216s  Round 2
11.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy     1m19.3182s  Round 2
12.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda        1m22.2045s  Round 2
13.  James Jakes*          Rahal/Honda        1m18.6398s  Group 1
14.  Luca Filippi         Barracuda/Honda    1m19.1242s  Group 2
15.  Dario Franchitti*     Ganassi/Honda      1m18.6694s  Group 1
16.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy           1m19.3051s  Group 2
17.  Oriol Servia         Panther/Chevy      1m18.8075s  Group 1
18.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy     1m19.4738s  Group 2
19.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy           1m18.9829s  Group 1
20.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy    1m20.5694s  Group 2
21.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy       1m19.2440s  Group 1
22.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy                 Group 2
23.  Stefan Wilson        Coyne/Honda        1m20.1871s  Group 1
24.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy                   Group 2
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