Honda Grand Prix of Alabama IZOD IndyCar Series Qualifying

Date:                  Saturday, April 9, 2011
Event:                 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Round 2 of 17)
Series:                IZOD IndyCar Series
Location:            Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. (2.3-mile, 17-turn road course)
Pole Winner:      Will Power of Team Penske (1:11.4546 at 115.878 mph)
Alex Tagliani:     12th (1:12.3485 at 114.446 mph)

After posting the eighth fastest time in the morning practice, Alex Tagliani slipped down the speed chart in qualifying for Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series’ Honda Grand Prix of Alabama and posted the 12th fastest time driving the No. 77 Bowers &Wilkins Dallara/Honda/Firestone of Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park, just east of Birmingham.

“We had a pretty good session this morning on the blacks (Firestone tire),” said Tagliani. “We are fighting a lot of entry over steer in the car. We put on the reds (Firestone tire) thinking there would be a lot of under steer. The car was quite loose at the beginning of the qualifying session, so we were not able to get a good lap out of it. I’m disappointed about that. We tried to make up a bunch by changing the car during the break, and we didn’t improve it. We stayed where we were, and it was not enough to move up.”

In IZOD IndyCar series “knock-out” road-course qualifying, Tagliani made it out the first round of group qualifying by posting a lap in the top-six of group two. The 12 cars running in the second round try to make it into the Firestone Fast Six and a shot at the pole, but Tagliani finished in the 12thth spot with his lap of 1 minute, 12.3485 seconds (114.446 mph), ending his qualifying session.

Despite the qualifying setback, Tagliani is confident the crew will give him a good car for the race.

“We’ll just try to fight our way through again in the race and try to finish in the top 6 and keep scoring points for the championship,” said Tagliani.

Will Power won the PEAK Performance Pole Award with a lap of 1:11:4546 (115.878), which is more than one second off his track-record lap of 1:10.1356 (118.057 mph) set last year. Joining Power on the front row is his Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe. Preventing Team Penske from starting 1-2-3 in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama is Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon. Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves will start fourth.

Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six are Dreyer & Reinbold’s Justin Wilson in fifth and Newman/Haas Racing’s Oriol Servia in sixth.

Sunday’s 90-lap Honda Grand Prix of Alabama will start with 26 IZOD IndyCar Series cars and will air live on VERSUS at 2:30 EDT.