Photo: Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Kimball takes Track Record & Pole at Texas

By Adam Tate, Associate Editor

Continuing the Verizon IndyCar Series’ unpredictable season, Charlie Kimball scored his first career pole position today with a new IndyCar Series’ track record at Texas Motor Speedway. The Ganassi driver’s two lap average speed of 222.556 mph topped Will Power’s previous top mark from 2015, no doubt aided by the repaved and re-profiled track surface of TMS.

“It’s pretty fantastic. It feels really, really good actually,” Kimball said of his first pole position. “The car was pretty good straight out of the trailer for practice. I think a lot of credit goes to everyone here at Texas Motor Speedway with the repave, the addition of some drainage, and the re-profiling of one and two over the winter.”

Kimball’s Ganassi team mates dominated a qualifying session that saw Honda powered cars have a distinct advantage over Chevrolet. Scott Dixon will share the front row with Kimball, while Tony Kanaan lines up on the outside of row two beside Andretti Autosport Ace Alexander Rossi. Will Power and Helio Castroneves lead the fight for Team Penske and Chevrolet, but could do no better than 9th and 10th place on the grid, nearly 1.5 mph down on Kimball’s new series record.

His time however is not the all time fastest around the 1.5 mile high banked speedway. Billy Boat qualified at 225.979 mph for the 1998 True Value 500, just the second Indy Racing League event at Texas. In 2001 CART came to TMS for the Firestone Firehawk 600, but sustained lateral G loads were so high several drivers blacked out and crashed. Qualifying took place, where Kenny Brack set a blistering 233.447 mph lap, but the race was cancelled due to safety concerns. Kimball’s near 223 mph lap may well represent a ceiling as to what an open wheel car can safely run here.

The other standout performance of qualifying was Tristan Vautier, who took fifth place for Dale Coyne Racing in his one off substitution for injured countryman Sebastien Bourdais. It continues DCR’s remarkable run of success and is another sign the smaller team can compete with the likes of Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti Autosport in 2017.

Carlos Munoz who claimed pole last year with old team Andretti Autosport will start last after his AJ Foyt Team failed to get his car to tech inspection on time.

Full Qualifying Results below.

  1. Charlie Kimball, 222.556 mph
  2. Scott Dixon, 222.516 mph
  3. Alexander Rossi, 222.442 mph
  4. Tony Kanaan, 222.007 mph
  5. Tristan Vautier, 221.801 mph
  6. Max Chilton, 221.654 mph
  7. Mikhail Aleshin, 221.489 mph
  8. Takuma Sato, 221.458 mph
  9. Will Power, 221.277 mph
  10. Helio Castroneves, 221.200 mph
  11. Graham Rahal, 220.954 mph
  12. Simon Pagenaud, 220.845 mph
  13. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 220.707 mph
  14. Ed Carpenter, 220.487 mph
  15. Marco Andretti, 220.318 mph
  16. James Hinchcliffe, 220.004 mph
  17. Josef Newgarden, 219.947 mph
  18. J.R. Hildebrand, 218.960 mph
  19. Ed Jones, 217.315 mph
  20. Gabby Chaves, 215.562 mph
  21. Conor Daly, 215.521 mph
  22. Carlos Munoz, No Time

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Associate Editor of Motorsports Tribune and jack of all trades, Adam is our resident Formula 1 expert. He has covered F1, IndyCar, WEC, IMSA, NASCAR, PWC and more. His work has been featured on multiple outlets including AutoWeek and A MT Co-founder, Adam has been with us since the beginning when he and Joey created Tribute Racing back in 2012. When not at the track or writing about cars, Adam can be found enjoying the Oregon back roads in his GTI.