As Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power are generally regarded as three of IndyCar’s best, you’d think the three of them would lock out the top three in qualifying more frequently.
It didn’t happen once in 2012. The closest situation came in Brazil a year ago when Power qualified on pole, Franchitti second and Hunter-Reay fifth.
Power – who has now qualified first, second and third in the first three races of 2013 – felt miffed at missing one potential last flier in Long Beach qualifying.
“We got caught out there at the end,” said Power. “Tim (Cindric) came over the radio and said that you’re barely going to make one more lap. I thought he meant fuel, not time, but it was time. So I got to the start of my last lap, and it was the checkered flag.”
Franchitti, who makes his 250th start this weekend, praised the depth of the entire field, not just his two closest rivals in qualifying.
“The depth of the field right now is as good as I’ve ever seen it, and I was lucky enough, as Helio was, to race in the late ’90s against some of the best ever and it’s bloody hard work,” said Franchitti.
“You have to absolutely risk everything to get that last little bit out of the car,” added Hunter-Reay. “It’s that close. It’s enjoyable though. It’s fun. Stressful, for sure.”