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Qualifying Report: Grand Prix of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore.—Despite the best efforts of A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team, the struggles on permanent road courses continues. After two days of practice at Portland International Raceway, the team was still trying to sort through different setups for qualifying today.

Unfortunately both drivers weren’t happy with their cars and both did not advance out of the first round of qualifying. Matheus Leist posted a lap time of 58.0036 seconds (121.896mph) and will start 19th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, alongside Takuma Sato.

“Qualifying was difficult,” said Leist, who will turn 20 next Saturday. “We are just struggling a little bit with the car, we didn’t find a great pace in the setup. We have to keep working hard and try to make the right choices for tomorrow. We’re going to debrief tonight and see what we can do for tomorrow.”

Kanaan, whose wife Lauren gave birth to a baby girl (Nina) early Friday morning, clocked in at 58.2531 seconds (121.374mph), and will start 24th.

“It’s been a difficult weekend for us,” he said. “We’ve tried absolutely everything we could with the setup since Thursday and nothing seems to give the No. 14 ABC Supply car a direction. I’m not sure exactly what to expect from the race, the only thing I can say is that I’ll give my 110%, like always.”

After a frustrating practice session yesterday, he said, “The last couple days have not been fun…apart from having a baby! That brightens up anybody’s life. We’ve been expecting it for so long. I know people say, it’s your fourth. But it doesn’t matter how many there are, it’s still very sweet. I feel very lucky that we have healthy kids—all born very healthy with no problems. When you have a bad day on the race track you have to put life in perspective and believe there are much bigger issues than just having a bad race car and not starting well. Days like yesterday and then being up all night with Lauren on the phone and hearing the baby cry and it was a girl, which deep inside, when you have three boys, you kind of hope for a girl, it’s awesome. I don’t think there’s anything this weekend that can make me upset but I still want to do a good job for ABC and for A.J. We rebuilt this team quite a bit and we’ve been suffering quite a bit the last few races with some bad luck. Hopefully we’re building things up and making us stronger for next year.”

Will Power won the pole position with a lap time of 57.3467 seconds (123.292mph) and surpassed A.J. Foyt’s total of 53 pole positions. Mario Andretti holds the record for pole positions at 67. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were: Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach.

NBC Sports Network will broadcast the race live Sunday afternoon starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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