LONG POND, Pa. (August 20, 2016) – Mikhail Aleshin, in the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, earned his first career Verizon P1 Pole Award for the ABC Supply 500, Saturday under sunny skies at Pocono Raceway. Aleshin, who secured the pole with a two-lap average of 220.445 mph, led a diverse-rich top six that had drivers from six different nationalities.
The front row for the ABC Supply 500 was completed by Josef Newgarden (Hendersonville, Tenn.), in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, with a 220.195 mph two-lap average. The top six includes by Takuma Sato (Japan), Helio Castroneves (Brazil), Carlos Munoz (Colombia), and James Hinchcliffe (Canada).
Nazareth, Pa. native Marco Andretti, in the No. 27 Snapple Honda, will start in the seventh row after qualifying in 13th position with a two-lap average of 218.012 mph.
Aleshin was also the fastest in the first practice session prior to qualifying with an average speed of 221.932 mph. Castroneves, in the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet, was the fastest in the final practice session before the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday.
ABC SUPPLY 500
The green flag for the Verizon IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 race is scheduled for 3:09 pm on Sunday. NBC Sports Network will air the race beginning at 3 p.m.
Robin Smith, local inspirational songwriter, will perform the national anthem prior to the race.
ABC Supply employees Joseph Cox and Francis Jackson, will serve as Grand Marshals and give the “Driver Start Your Engines” command for the ABC Supply 500
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Courtesy of INDYCAR)
Mikhail Aleshin, No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda:
“It’s obviously very difficult to explain what I feel now. But it’s a lot of emotions definitely. Maybe you cannot see it with my Russian face, but it’s true. I’m very happy for the team first of all because we’ve been through many things. We’ve been through some very difficult situations at the end of 2014. They supported me then. Then I came back last year for single race, the last race in Sonoma, and finished in the top 10. This year, I mean, we had some good things, some difficult things – races, I mean. I think the last part of the season has been really good, and we had really good progress. Just the whole team all together, me, everyone else. It’s a team sport here, for sure. Every tiny thing is very important in the end result. So I’m definitely very, very happy to be here.”
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet
“I’m very happy with the result. The Hitachi Chevy was good this morning and that continued into the afternoon. We did get some luck with the cloud cover that cooled the track down. We haven’t had a lot of good luck this year; maybe it’s starting to change. I wasn’t really expecting fourth, but I’ll certainly take it. Now, we’ll get some more work in later at practice.”
Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
“It wasn’t great out there in the Target car today for some reason. The car was extremely loose and we had quite a few issues this morning. We did a little bit of race running in the practice session but we lost a lot of track time with the crashes this morning that others had. I just don’t think we did a good job rolling off the truck this weekend and we paid for it in qualifying for sure. We have a lot of work to do before the race.”
Josef Newgarden, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet
“We rolled out with one thing and I was pushing my guys to do something different. It’s a team decision, whether it’s their decision or mine, but I feel like I was pushing a little hard for something that wasn’t the right thing. But we were close, we just needed that little bit. I think where we rolled out with would have been enough. It’s my fault that we changed it. I’m disappointed about that; you always want the pole. We have a great chemistry and group with our people, but sometimes I mess up. Congrats to Mikhail, great job by him. We didn’t have enough today but tomorrow is what counts.”
Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda
“Very, very happy about our qualifying run. We had a very good baseline car. We tested here a couple weeks ago which helped massively and we gained a good understanding for the strong superspeedway package that Honda worked so hard on and it looks like we have a pretty strong car. It’s a lot of compliments to our engineering staff particularly my race engineer Raul (Prados) who worked on so many details and the car was almost perfect and I really enjoyed running those two laps. It’s a fantastic achievement. Hopefully we’ll have a strong car for the ABC Supply 500 and have a good day tomorrow.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will participate in an autograph session on Sunday, August 21 from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at the INDYCAR Fan Village located behind the grandstands. The autograph session is open to all fans with valid grandstand tickets.
VINTAGE INDYCAR AND CAR SHOW
The Vintage INDYCAR and the car show will take place in Pocono Raceway’s Paddock on Sunday, August 21. Fans with a Paddock Pass will get to see Vintage INDYCAR’s from different eras. In addition to the Vintage INDYCAR, fans will also enjoy a Chevrolet Corvette car show will nearly 130 cars present.
Sunday’s photo meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in the Driver’s Wives Lounge, adjacent to the Media Center.