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IndyCar’s first ever qualifying session using aero kits occurred yesterday, though few noticed. Fans were forced to watch a dodgy web stream if they cared to see it. As predicted, Mad Will Power won the pole with a new track record and his Penske team mates took the other top three spots. Chevrolet was dominant, sweeping eight of the top ten quickest times. Unfortunately aero kits are bringing greater disparity between teams and Team Penske will continue to benefit from it this season.
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Marco Andretti was out-qualified by a his new part time team mate who was out of the car all last year Simona De Silvestro. Even further back, Graham Rahal‘s starting 15th. It appears there are no legacies in IndyCar, at least not lately. The Chipster’s team seems to be struggling again with his top contenders Dixon and Kanaan in 9th and 7th, respectively. AJ Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato again qualified well at St. Pete, taking best Honda in class with a fifth starting spot. The only other Honda in the top ten is Hunter-Reay in 8th.
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The five rookies are toward the rear of the field, with KV’s Stefano “faster than Andretti” Coletti being the quickest among them in 17th. The newbies are in for a hard lesson today about the importance of qualifying on a street course. Speaking of education, coming off last are Dollar Dale Coyne’s cars driven by Rookie Italian Franceso Dracone and race winner Colombian Carlos Huertas. Just ahead of them is our pick for first out of the race, BHA’s Gabby “Pat” Chavez.
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The biggest surprise of the race, either Coletti’s performance or the lack of Honda’s, remain valid forecasts after qualifying. Our predicted winner Helio Castro-Neves rolls off in third, right behind Power. It should be a Penske perfect kind of day in Florida.
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