By David Morgan, Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – Heading into NTT IndyCar Series qualifying Friday evening at Texas Motor Speedway, both oval ace Will Power and Alexander Rossi were thought to be threats for strong qualifying runs, but instead the two drivers came away disappointed with their starting positions for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600.
Power has won at Texas twice and since August 2016 has been a threat at nearly every oval, with five of his last seven wins coming on oval tracks. After putting up speeds in the top-five during practice Thursday and Friday at Texas, it was natural to expect Power to contend for the pole.
However, that was the opposite of what happened as he only managed a two-lap average good enough for a 15th place start, his worst ever at the 1.5-mile track.
“The car had a bit of understeer; it was a bit of everything,” said Power after qualifying. “I tried to go in late, but unfortunately, the front didn’t work the way I wanted it to and had a little moment early on during my first lap, so I was lacking some confidence for the second. We have a lot of work ahead of us tomorrow, but we know we have a plan in place to make the Verizon Chevy really strong for the race.”
As for Rossi, the current runner-up in the IndyCar Series points standings who finished third in this race one year ago, he has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, finishing in the top-nine in all but one race this year, along with a dominating win at Long Beach.
With Honda leading the way in practice and qualifying, Rossi was expected to be right up near the top of the leaderboard when qualifying was complete, but like Power was left with an unsatisfactory qualifying attempt, leaving him 11th on the starting grid.
“It was a disappointing run for the GESS / Capstone car, I think we had a faster car than qualifying showed,” Rossi said. “We missed it on Lap 1, we’ll look and see why that was tonight and go from there. It’s fast laps, but there’s a chance to make up spots tomorrow.”
Despite the hiccups in qualifying, both Rossi and Power will look to duplicate past results at the track when the green flag flies on the 248-lap event at approximately 8:45 pm Eastern Saturday.