BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (AP) - Simona de Silvestro had big hopes for qualifying after closing Saturday morning’s practice on top of the leaderboard.
Instead, she was knocked out in the first round at Barber Motorsports Park in a disappointing session for KV Racing Technology. Teammate Tony Kanaan also failed to advance out of the first round Saturday.
De Silvestro said the balance on her Chevrolet changed considerably when her team switched from black Firestone tires to red for the qualifying session and it hampered her run. She wound up 14th.
“I think on the blacks we were really quick, even on the older ones,” she said. “Hopefully we can make up some positions. It’s really frustrating to be starting more in the back, but I think we can make it happen. We’ll work really hard to go to the front.”
De Silvestro made the Fast Six during IndyCar’s season-opening race at St. Pete two weeks ago and ran inside the top six the entire race. She was third on the final lap but gave up three positions and wound up sixth.
Kanaan, meanwhile, was frustrated after failing to advance out of the first round. He was 19th overall, and felt he was better than where he ended up. He said he was surprised when team co-owner Jimmy Vasser told him to pick up speed.
Kanaan was in the first qualifying, which had a stacked field. The second group wasn’t as competitive.
“I’m having a hard time understanding what happened during qualifying,” Kanaan said. “My car actually felt good, but when Vasser came on the radio and said I needed another tenth and a half, I thought that I heard something wrong.
“And on top of that the times for group two of quals were way slower than group one, which is very strange. Starting back there will make it a long day tomorrow, but I trust the (hash)11 crew, Chevy and Firestone and we’ll move forward during the race.”
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