- Associated Press - Saturday, April 14, 2012

LONG BEACH, CALIF. (AP) - Ryan Briscoe kept Penske Racing perfect so far this season by winning the pole for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

He won’t be there for very long.

A decision by Chevrolet to yank the engines from all 11 of its teams because of concerns the engines wouldn’t last throughout the race meant all the Chevy drivers knew they wouldn’t start Sunday where they actually qualified. The IndyCar penalty for unapproved engine changes is 10 spots on the starting grid, so Briscoe will actually start 11th when the green flag falls.

Defending series champion Dario Franchitti, a Honda driver, qualified fourth but will start on the pole because the top three in qualifying were Chevy drivers.

Josef Newgarden, an IndyCar rookie, leaps from seventh to second, and Justin Wilson will go from ninth to third.

After that is anyone’s guess.

“I feel like we need to call in NASA to figure out who is starting where,” said Chevy driver James Hinchcliffe, who qualified sixth.

“Who is starting sixth?” asked Chevy driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was third.

“I have no idea,” Hinchcliffe replied.

“Who’s on first?” Hunter-Reay cracked.

All humor aside, Chevrolet was proud to have five drivers qualify in the top six on what’s been a trying weekend.

The engine issue was discovered after Hinchcliffe’s blew up during a test session on Monday, and Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Chris Berube said the drivers “rose to the challenge of the engine change.”

“We were not certain something would happen during the race, but we wanted to preserve the show, and decided it was in the best interest of all our Chevy teams, and the Long Beach Grand Prix to swap the engines out beforehand, knowing the grid penalty will be difficult to overcome in the race,” he added.

With 14 total drivers being punished for engine changes _ three Lotus drivers also made switches _ figuring out the starting lineup is a bit of a headache. But it should make for an exciting race as some of the top talent will be mired deep in the field at a track that doesn’t have too many ideal passing spots.

Asked if drivers will be forced to create places to pass, Will Power said he wasn’t sure.

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