ST. PETERSBURG, FL, March 23, 2013 - Will Power earned his fourth consecutive pole for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg -- and the inaugural Verizon P1 Award.
Power posted a best lap of 1 minute, 1.2070 seconds in the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six session that culminated the three rounds of knockout qualifications for the IZOD IndyCar Series race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. It bested his 2012 pole lap (1:01.3727).
While that might have been expected, the Firestone Fast Six lineup and the remainder of how the starting order for the season opener shook out was a bit surprising.
• Takuma Sato, competing for his third team in the past three seasons and making his 50th series start, will start on the front row for the first time since Edmonton in 2011. Driving the Honda-powered No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing, he tied Mike Conway (Baltimore 2012) for the team's best qualifying effort in many years.
• Simona de Silvestro, entering her fourth IZOD IndyCar Series season and making her first start for KV Racing Technology and with Chevrolet power, qualified for her first Firestone Fast Six and will start on the inside of Row 2. It's a career best (previous best of seventh in 2010 at Edmonton).
• Tristan Vautier, the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion, kicking off his IZOD IndyCar Series career with a Firestone Fast Six appearance and starting sixth in the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car. He won the Firestone Indy Lights and Star Mazda races at St. Petersburg in the past two years.
Five different teams are represented on the first three rows of the grid for the 110-lap race (noon ET March 24 on NBC Sports Network).
Also on March 23, Jack Hawksworth, who earned the 2012 Star Mazda Championship, won in his Firestone Indy Lights debut for Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian Motorsports after leaders Carlos Munoz and Gabby Chaves tangled while battling for the lead.
Munoz, the Sunoco Pole Award recipient in the No. 26 Dialy-Ser-Andretti Autosport car, was battling Chaves in the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car entering Turn 1 of Lap 11 when they made contact. Hawksworth made his way around the scene to take the lead, which he held the remainder of the 45-lap race.
Hawksworth led Peter Dempsey across the finish line by 4.9 seconds for the fourth consecutive victory at St. Petersburg for a Schmidt Peterson car. The past three winners (J.K. Vernay, Josef Newgarden and Tristan Vautier went on the win the series title).