Carlos Munoz may not yet have an Indianapolis 500 victory to his name, but the Columbian scored an important first in the Verizon IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway – his first pole.
Munoz maneuvered his No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda around the 1.455-mile Texas oval with a two-lap qualifying average of 217.137 mph to claim his first Verizon P1 Award for Saturday’s Firestone 600.
To be honest, I didn’t expect that speed,” Munoz said. “I thought we would do something around 216 mph, but I was happy with the speed we were doing. It’s my first pole – I was looking at the (Verizon P1 Award) hat and it looks really nice. I’m really happy for all of my team after Indy.”
The result bests Munoz’s best previous start, a second-place effort coming in his debut race at Indianapolis in 2013. Munoz will also attempt to equal the qualifying improvement in the race – he finished second to Tony Kanaan in the 2013 Indy 500.
Leading the way for Chevrolet will be Scott Dixon. The defending race winner and series champion will roll off alongside Munoz in second after laying down a 216.901 mph average speed in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
Helio Castroneves will roll of in third, with Takuma Sato and Josef Newgarden finishing out the top five. Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe will complete the top 10.
21 of the 22 cars in the grid completed a qualifying effort in Friday’s session. The lone driver to fail to post a time, Gabby Chaves, will start at the rear of the field after crashing his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda in a morning practice session.
The 248-lap Firestone 600 is set to begin on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. Coverage can be found on NBCSN and IndyCar Radio.
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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