NEWTON, Ia. – KV Racing Technology’s Takuma Sato scored his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Sato clocked in at 35.6857 and took the pole from Tony Kannan, who had held the pole for a vast majority of the session.
Sato’s previous best start was at Mid-Ohio, when he turned in the third fastest time in qualifying.
“I want to say a big thank you to the whole team, the fans, the sponsors and everyone who has supported me,” Soato said after his qualifying run. “It is a fantastic achievement. I knew we were going to be competitive because of last year and this morning I was truly comfortable in the car. I could feel where we needed to be with the setup for qualifying. Working so closely today with the three KVRT-Lotus drivers, working so closely with my engineers, we had a great answer. The mechanics also did a great job preparing the car. I am very pleased with today’s result.”
Danica Patrick will start opposite of Sato on the front row after locking down the second place starting spot in qualifying.
“It feels really good to have the GoDaddy car in position to be able to guard up front and have the opportunity for a solid race day,” Patrick said after recording a lap of 35.7184. “On short tracks like this it’s nice to start near the front because you can gain ground more quickly. If you start near the back of the field you could be a lap behind very quickly. I haven’t started on the front row in a long time so it’s a good feeling.”
Rounding out the top-ten qualifiers was Kanaan, JR. Hildebrand, Will Power, Dario Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Ryan Brisco.
The IndyCar Series will race 250 laps under the lights at Iowa Speedway for the first time ever on Saturday. The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will begin at 9 p.m. ET and will be televised on Versus and broadcast on the IMS Radio Network.
The drivers will have 24 overtake assists, each lasting 10 seconds and with a minimum of eight seconds between pushes. Each assist will provide an extra 200 RPM, or about 10 horsepower.