Castroneves on pole for Race 2 in Houston


The Sports Network

Houston, TX ( - Helio Castroneves will start on the pole for the second race in the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston weekend doubleheader after posting the fastest lap in Sunday morning's qualifying.

Qualifying for Race 2 at Houston's NRG Park consisted of two groups, running 12 minutes each. The groups were determined by Friday's combined practice times. The driver with the quickest lap overall in qualifying claimed the pole position.

Running in Group 2, Castroneves made a lap around this 1.683-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit in 59.1702 seconds to earn his second pole of the season and the 40th of his career, which placed him in a tie with Rick Mears for fourth on the IndyCar Series all-time pole winners list.

Castroneves started second and finished ninth in Saturday's Race 1 here.

Rookie Mikhail Aleshin was fastest in Group 1 with a lap in 60.2493 seconds. Aleshin will share the front starting row with Castroneves in Sunday's 90-lap race here.

Simon Pagenaud, the pole sitter for Race 1 on Saturday, and Graham Rahal will start from row two, while Sebastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson will roll off from the third row.

James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan qualified on the fourth row, and rookie Carlos Munoz and Takuma Sato took row five.

Rookie Carlos Huertas, who became a first-time IndyCar race winner on Saturday, will start 13th.

Championship points leader Will Power struggled in qualifying again, finishing 18th for the second straight day. Power placed 14th in Race 1 after he spun out and hit the tire barrier in the late going.

Also on Sunday, IndyCar announced that Marco Andretti was fined $2,500 and placed on probation for three races, beginning with Race 2 in Houston, for violating Rule (failure to heed the blue flag) of the series' rule book. While running a lap behind early in the race due to a flat tire, Andretti interfered with the progress of Takuma Sato when Sato was attempting to catch James Hinchcliffe for the lead. IndyCar officials had slapped Andretti with a drive-through penalty on lap 24 for failure to heed blue flag.

Andretti will start 16th in Race 2.

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