Power Takes Pole For Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

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Will Power overcame a crash in the morning practice session to earn the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Power, who has participated in all eight Firestone Fast Six sessions this season, claimed the top spot for the 85-lap race with a best lap of 1 minute, 7.1997 seconds (120.965 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car during the 10-minute shootout. It is his seventh of the season, tying teammate Helio Castroneves' IZOD IndyCar Series record.

In the 60-minute practice session, Power's car clipped the curb at the apex of the corner, ran wide into the wet grass and spun trying to point it back onto the track. It backed hard into the tires at the end of the Turn 1 runoff.

"Bad mistake on my behalf this morning," said Power, who got out of the car without assistance, though the Indy Racing League medical staff reported he has a thigh bruise. "The guys had to put together the spare car in a two-hour space. I can't thank them enough."

Four different teams entered the Firestone Fast Six, and seven different teams are represented on the first six rows. Dario Franchitti (1:07.2846), who advanced to the Firestone Fast Six the past four races (all with podium finishes), will start on the outside of the front row.

Also, Martin Plowman set a Firestone Indy Lights track record at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and earned his first Sunoco Pole Award in the process.

Plowman, driving the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing car for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport, had a best lap of 1 minute, 12.8624 seconds during the 45-minute qualifying session for the Mid-Ohio 100.

James Hinchcliffe, who won at Edmonton two weeks ago, will start on the front row for the fourth consecutive race in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car.

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

Honda Performance Development is the first engine manufacturer to commit to the next generation of IZOD IndyCar Series car.

HPD president Erik Berkman announced before qualifications at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course that the racing arm of American Honda Motor Company is extending participation beyond expiration of its current supply agreement at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

HPD will continue to provide the Honda Indy V-8 engine to all competitors during the 2011 season, after which a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 power plant, designed by HPD, will debut when new engine specifications take effect in the series in 2012.

The cost of a season-long lease for the 2012 Honda IndyCar engine will be reduced by up to 40 percent from current pricing. This follows a number of other significant cost reductions, which Honda has implemented since taking on the challenge of supplying the entire field of entrants in 2006. HPD has provided engines to the series since 2003.

"Through both robust and trying times, our commitment to open-wheel racing in America has never wavered," Berkman said. "With today's announcement, we are pleased to reaffirm that commitment, and extend it deep into the current decade.

"With a passionate and energetic new title sponsor in IZOD, dynamic new management at its helm, and plans to significantly reshape its on-track product in the near future, the IZOD IndyCar Series is poised for significant growth. We are delighted to take a role in that promising future."

On June 2, IZOD IndyCar Series officials announced that its 2012 engine platform will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power.

Other manufacturers are welcome to join Honda in supplying engines.

"The ICONIC Advisory Committee has researched future engine platforms with manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans, and they felt this strategy best highlights key attributes of the sport - speed, competition and diversity," IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said. "We feel this open and all-inclusive platform will make our sport an attractive option to engine manufacturers, while allowing development of a relevant and innovative platform to the current and future automotive industry by highlighting efficiency, performance, durability, quality, environmental responsibility and safety."

Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for American Honda high-performance racing cars and engines.

"By Honda extending its participation, I think it says a lot of what the IndyCar Series is now and where it's going," said Gil de Ferran, managing partner of de Ferran Dragon Racing and former sporting director for Honda's F1 program. "Manufacturers aren't forced to participate in motorsports, and they're not forced to participate in any one series per say. They do so because they choose to and because they can see the benefits that motorsports can bring to the business of selling road cars. Honda, as people like to say, is a racing company that happens to sell road cars."

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

· Four different teams are represented in the Firestone Fast Six - Team Penske, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport and KV Racing Technology. Seven different teams are represented in the top 12 qualifiers.

· Will Power won the PEAK Performance Pole Award, his seventh pole this season. Power has only qualified outside the top-five once this season (Kansas).

· Dario Franchitti will start second, his third front row start this season.

· Both Power and Franchitti extended their streaks of top-five starts this season to seven.

· Takuma Sato qualified third, his best starting position this season. His previous best start was fifth at Watkins Glen. This was Sato's third appearance this season in the Firestone Fast Six.

· Scott Dixon qualified fifth, extending his streak of top-10 starts to 43.

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