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.
Simona de Silvestro