Castroneves earns pole on quick day at Phoenix qualifying

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 2:37 AM

Helio Castroneves had the fastest qualifying lap during a day of records in IndyCar'south return to Phoenix International Raceway on Friday. Castroneves had the final of six track-record runs on the mi oval, turning a lap at 192.324 miles per hour for a two-lap elapsed time of 38.2604 seconds."It'south an honor to be breaking the record and indicate that the cars are fast," Castroneves said.

Castroneves earns pole on quick day at Phoenix qualifying

IndyCar'south return to the desert got off to a blazing start.

Helio Castroneves had the fastest qualifying lap during a day of records in IndyCar'south return to Phoenix International Raceway on Friday.

Castroneves had the final of six track-record runs on the mi oval, turning a lap at 192.324 miles per hour for a two-lap elapsed time of 38.2604 seconds.

"It'south an honor to be breaking the record and indicate that the cars are fast," Castroneves said.

The high speeds and split-second decisions that arrive with them benefited the older, more experienced drivers during qualifying.

Tony Kanaan will start on the front row with Castroneves in Saturday night'south 250-mile race.

Juan Pablo Montoya, the winner in the season opener at St. Petersburg, qualified third after originally breaking the track record on both his qualifying runs.

Charlie Kimball qualified fourth, Ed Carpenter fifth and Scott Dixon sixth.

None of the top six drivers is under 30.

"The elderly guys are out front. You guys can call us whatever you want, but as long as we hold winning," Kanaan said. "That'south (experience) going to count a lot."

PIR has been reconfigured since Sam Hornish, Jr. won the latest race in the desert in two thousand-fifth, but the speeds were quick for a brief track regardless of the routing. Of the twenty-two cars in the field, sixteen turned a lap faster than Arie Luyendyk'south 20-year-old track record during the first practice session.

The records continued to fall throughout the qualifying session, sometimes right after each other.

Dixon broke it early in the session, though it didn't latest long. Montoya broke the track record on both his qualifying runs, only to have Castroneves, his Team Penske teammate, top it on his first qualifying running right behind him.

Castroneves couldn't beat it again on his second lap thanks to a one hundred ninety miles per hour bobble coming out of a turn, though his first one was plenty.

"You don't realize when you're going one hundred ninety miles per hour and you lose it a little," he said. "You don't have any time to react, you're just a passenger."

HITTING THE WALL: Several drivers had trouble with the first two turns during practice and qualifying.

Carlos Munoz had the hardest hit, losing control of his car on Turn one during qualifying. He'd to be helped out of his car and onto a stretcher before being taken to the infield medical center.

The Andretti Autosport driver turned out to be OK, released after a few minutes with minor injuries to his knees.

"My knees are a small sore, but I can't wait to obtain back into the car," he said.

Takuma Sato destroyed the back of his car during the first practice session after losing control coming out of Turn two. James Hinchcliffe did the same thing in nearly the same spot a few minutes later.

Both came far from the crashes unscathed.

"It was quite a large impact and (I have) a small bit of a headache, but I'm good," Sato said. "It was a fast spin. I lost it simply with a tiny bit of oversteer."

Sato and Hinchcliffe were unable to qualify and will start at the back of Saturday's race.

MEDIA ROOM HIJINKS: Castroneves and Kanaan are known as two of IndyCar'south most playful drivers and they were on their game during the post-qualifying media session.

Kanaan, known for his honesty and wisecracking, took a second during his first reply to chastise people talking in the corner.

"Can you guys hold it down a tiny bit?" he said. "Thank you."

A TV in the other corner later showed him speaking during an earlier interview, causing him to quip: "Man, am I ugly."

Kanaan also had a tiny fun with a reporter who was about to ask a question after the previous one about the Honda cars.

"Another Honda question, please," said Kanaan, who drives a Chevy.

Castroneves came into the media room wearing a crown with a PIR symbol on the front and immediately played off it.

"Kiss the rings," he said, holding his hands out after being introduced as the King of PIR speed.

Castroneves was asked if should be referred to as the king from now, and that, of course, elicited a quick response.

"Yes, servant," he said.

Castroneves also ended the session by telling the reporters as he got up: "You may leave now," drawing laughter from the room.

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