Takuma Sato scores pole for opening race of Houston Grand Prix

Chris Trotman

Takuma Sato scored the pole for the opening race of the Grand Prix of Houston IndyCar Series doubleheader.

In a fitting first moment for IndyCar's return to the Streets of Houston, Takuma Sato won the pole for race No. 1 of the Grand Prix of Houston. It's memorable because Sato drives for hometown hero AJ Foyt -- who still operates his race team out of Weller, Tex.

Takuma Sato recorded a fastest lap of 1 minute, .4535 seconds in the No. 14 ABC Supply car in Group 2 of qualifications for Race 1 of the event to earn the Verizon P1 Award -- the first pole for A.J. Foyt Racing since July 1999 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In April, Sato gave the team its first victory since the 2002 season.

"It's a great achievement for the team," said Sato, who picked up his first pole since Edmonton in 2011, when he was with KV Racing Technology. "(The car) feels pretty good. It's a new circuit and lot is going on with a different configuration to the track, but the boys did a good job and we put everything together.

"It means a lot. Particularly since it's Houston, where the team is based. It's A.J.'s first time at a race in a long, long time. He missed Long Beach and I'm very pleased to put everything together for him."

Will Power was the fastest out of group 1 and will start alongside Sato on the front row for Saturday's first race.

Sebastien Bourdais was second fast in the session (1:01.4911) in the No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet. However, Bourdais, Dario Franchitti (fifth in Group 1) and Graham Rahal will receive a 10 grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change.

Championship leader Helio Castroneves will start toward the rear of the field after qualifying 22nd -- his lowest of the season -- in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott Dixon, who entered the weekend 49 points behind Castroneves, qualified third.

Race 1 will go green at 3 p.m. ET and incorporate a standing start (the second of the season), while Race 2 will have a rolling start.

The complete qualifying results can be found below. Note -- this is not a starting lineup.

Takuma Sato

Will Power

Scott Dixon

Sebastien Bourdais

Simon Pagenaud

Simona de Silvestro

James Hinchcliffe

Luca Filippi

EJ Viso

Dario Franchitti

James Jakes

Marco Andretti

Mike Conway

Justin Wilson

Tony Kanaan

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Charlie Kimball

Oriol Sevia

Graham Rahal

Josef Newgarden

Sebastian Saavedra

Helio Castroneves

Ed Carpenter

Tristan Vautier

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