LONG POND, Pa. – A strong run in practice this morning in which Tony Kanaan had the fastest “no tow speed” led to optimism for the ABC Supply 500 qualifying round this afternoon but those hopes diminished as speeds climbed with each successive qualifier who benefited from a combination of cloud cover and lower track temperatures.
Kanaan’s two-lap average speed of 216.328mph in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet put him 14th on the grid, right alongside his former teammate and Verizon IndyCar Series point leader Scott Dixon.
“Qualifying could have been a little bit better,” Kanaan said. “I think I was expecting to be inside the top 10, especially with the speedway car that we had in Indy – this is a similar track – but all in all I think we’ll be very competitive and I’m looking for to it be a turnaround point of the season for us. This race and the next one are races that the team has a history of doing pretty good and that I have a history of doing pretty good, so hopefully this will be the weekend.
“It’s going to be all about patience, it’s a 500 mile race,” Kanaan said. “With these cars nowadays you see how easy it is to make a mistake or run behind somebody and lose all the air and a bunch of positions but it’s a long race. We have a pretty decent car for the race so I’m confident.”
Posting a qualifying speed of 211.696mph in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, Matheus “Matt” Leist is going to start 20th in his first start on the Tricky Triangle.
“Qualifying is done here at Pocono – it’s a tricky place,” Leist said, adding, “but every time I go to the track I’m getting more used to the car - to everything - and I think I’m feeling more comfortable and looking forward to the race now. Just have to do a good job and finish in the top 10.”
Will Power won the pole with a blistering speed of 219.511mph. His teammate Josef Newgarden was nearly a mile an hour slower with his speed of 218.802mph. Rounding out the top five were: Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud.
A rain shower washed out final practice this afternoon so teams will be basing their race setup on the information they were able to gather from the one hour practice session this morning.
The ABC Supply 500 will be televised live on NBC Sports Network tomorrow starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.