Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.18 SealMaster Honda will start tonight’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix from the front after claiming his first oval Verizon P1 Award since 2006.
The 39 year old LeMans native who went into this weekend’s race leading the championship following his victory at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Peteresburg set a two lap average qualifying speed of 188.539MPH and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
That SealMaster No. 18 Honda was really solid. “As soon as that track temp cooled off, it just gives you all the grip you need to make it happen. It’s high tension, high pressure, really listening to the car and making sure you don’t overdo it.
Bourdais went on to say:
I have to say every time I jump in that car in qualifying trim and stuff, I think (about my crash in qualifying for the 2017 Indianapolis 500). It stays in the back of your mind. You fight yourself more than the car, I think at some point. It was just a good effort. The guys did a really good job. Obviously, qualifying position is pretty big. I knew it was going to take a flat (Turn) 3 and 4. I wasn’t quite sure about Turn 1 and 2 and how much I needed to dig. The car was really solid. That SealMaster No. 18 Honda was really solid. As soon as that track temp cooled off, it just gives you all the grip you need to make it happen. It’s high tension, high pressure. Really listening to the car and making sure you don’t overdo it. It’s a great achievement for the whole Dale Coyne Racing team with Vasser and Sullivan.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menard’s Chevrolet who took the victory here last season will start the race from second place with a qualifying average of 188.148MPH.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet starts the race from third place with a two lap average of 186.852MPH and starts the race just ahead of Alexander Rossi in the No.27 Military to Motorsports Honda for Andretti Autosport.
It was a great session for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda and Robert Wickens in the No.6 Lucas Oil Honda will start the race from fifth and sixth place respectively.
Defending series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Verizon Chevrolet starts the race from seventh place for Team Penske.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay starts the race from eighth place in the No.28 DHL Honda just ahead of AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Co Chevrolet while on his Verizon IndyCar Series debut, Pietro Fittipaldi in the No.19 Paysafe Honda for Dale Coyne Racing will make his race debut from 10th place.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda starts the race from 11th place with a qualifying speed of 184.313MPH. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato start the race from 12th and 13th respectively.
On his Verizon IndyCar Series debut, Kyle Kaiser starts the race from 14th place for Juncos Racing just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot in the No.21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. AJ Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist starts the race from 16th place in the No.4 ABC Supply Co Chevrolet while Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing starts the race from 17th place.
Ed Carpenter Racing team owner Ed Carpenter in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet starts the race from 18th place just ahead of Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves in the No.88 Chevrolet.
Marco Andretti in the No.98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda starts the race from 20th place just ahead of Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball while Zach Veach rounds out the order for Andretti Autosport in 23rd place.