LONG BEACH, Calif -- Australian Ryan Briscoe claimed pole position at the Long Beach Grad Prix Qualifying Saturday afternoon with a best lap of 1:08.6089, passing up teammate Will Power on the final lap of the Fast Six. His #2 Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet finished tenth in yesterday's practice session, with Will Power finishing with yesterday's best lap of 1:10.7553 around the 1.968 mile track. Their Teammate Brazilian Helio Castroneves finished two tenths of a second behind Power in yesterday's practice session, but finished outside the Firestone Fast Six.
Because Chevrolet made unapproved changes to their engine prior to the start of practice sessions yesterday, all Chevy drivers will suffer grid spot penalties. Thus, while Briscoe gets the bonus money and the point, Dario Franchitti will start in the first spot despite finishing fourth in the Fast Six. He'll be joined by rookie Josef Newgarden, who like Franchitti drove a Honda engine. Chevy engines were assessed ten grid spot penalties, meaning Briscoe will start in the 11th spot.
"The important thing is we know we have a fast car and we're making the best of the situation," said Briscoe.
Will Power started in the pole position for the last three Long Beach Grand Prix races. Power finished .0984 seconds behind Briscoe in the Fast Six, with both drivers setting their best mark on their fourth and final lap. Will Power finished tops of the knockout qualifying session, and pitting after the third lap setting the high lap time on his second.
Josef Newgarden, Rookie of the Year candidate from Hendersonville, Tennessee, finished top of the first group session, but finished outside of Fast Six qualifying. He was able to greatly improve on his time for yesterday's practice session, and gets to start second because of the Chevy penalties.
Tomorrow's race is being broadcast on NBC Sports Network live at 1:15 PST. Mike Conway won last year's race, but did not qualifying for the Fast Six round.