Barber Saturday Wrap-Up

Well, so much for predictions. I said that at least one Foyt car would make the Firestone Fast Six and neither one made it out of the first round of qualifying. Jack Hawksworth will start fourteenth and Takuma Sato will go off in the sixteenth starting spot in tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

I was right on my Penske picks for the Fast Six. Will Power and Simon Pagenaud both made it and Pagenaud will start on the pole with Power alongside on the front row. Defending champion Josef Newgarden will start third. It’s good to see my fellow Nashvillian have a good qualifying run. Scott Dixon, Sébastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal rounded out the Top Six. I’m not sure having one Honda in the Fast Six was the representation I was thinking of, but I guess it beats a clean sweep. I did get one photo of Rahal on a flying lap in the first session of qualifying.

The bigger surprises of qualifying was who was not a factor. Aside from the disappointment of the Foyt cars, Juan Montoya will start dead last. Continuing a bad weekend, none of the four Andretti Autosport cars even made it out of the first round. As this trend continues, it becomes a bigger and bigger mystery. Right now, they are the most underachieving team in the paddock.

Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe both barely missed the Firestone Fast Six, but had decent runs and will start seventh and eighth respectively. The good thing is that they both should have an extra set of red (alternate) tires for tomorrow. Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball both advanced to the second round for Chip Ganassi, but not to the Fast Six. Kanaan will start ninth and Kimball tenth.

As for the race tomorrow – I stand by my prediction that Will Power will win this race. He needs to and needs for his teammate and points leader Simon Pagenaud to have a bad day, so that Power can get back into contention after missing the season-opener at St. Petersburg.

We sat in the grandstands on the backstretch for qualifying. None of the speakers were working as the IMS Radio Network was explaining things to the rest of the track. As has happened before, most in the stands had n idea what was going on and started leaving after Round Two of qualifying. Susan and I both told some of them that it wasn’t over, but they just looked at us like we had two heads each as they headed for the exits. One fellow behind us listened but acted shocked to find out the run for the pole was still to come. He thought Bourdais was on the pole, since he was the fastest of Round Two. He thanked me after it was over.

As I was writing this, I sent the folks at Barber a tweet explaining it. They said they were aware of it and were working on it. Hopefully, they will fix it by tomorrow.

That will do it for me today. As I typed this out at the track, Susan was putting the finishing touches on her post. We will probably post that early this evening. We’ll be back here first thing Sunday morning.

George Phillips

3 Responses to “Barber Saturday Wrap-Up”

  1. Rahal and Hinchcliff are working their tales off. Newgarden was impressive, too. I am thinking that Newgarden might take it tomorrow.

  2. Rahal got a 1:06.817 today with his Honda in Round 2. Whatever is going on at Andretti is not good. Fast drivers and slow cars.

  3. hey George. im sure this race will be the best one so far. with newgarden winningneves second and sato third.

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