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Sebastien Bourdais follows up ST. Pete Win with Pole for Phoenix Grand Prix

PHOENIX – Continuing his impressive start to the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, Sebastien Bourdais claimed the pole for the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway in Friday’s qualifying session, with a lap of 19.5034 seconds (188.539 mph).

“This is why we’re out there,” said Bourdais. “We come out every week and try to win it, be on pole, do the best you can. We’ll still a very small organization when you compare to the likes of Ganassi, Andretti, Penske. When you do [well], it’s really sweet.

Bourdais, the driver of the No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda, is joined on the front row by his fellow Frenchman, defending race winner Simon Pagenaud (188.148 mph). Bourdais’ Dale Coyne Racing teammate, Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of open-wheel legend Emerson Fittipaldi, qualified 10th in his first race at ISM Raceway.

Also qualifying in the top five were Will Power in third, Alexander Rossi in fourth and James Hinchcliffe in fifth. Three of the top-five qualifiers were Hondas. Besides Pagenaud, the other former ISM Raceway winners in field were Tony Kanaan in ninth and Scott Dixon in 17th.

Earlier in the day, the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series held its qualifying session for Saturday’s Phoenix Copper Cup.

Also on track today was the Vintage Desert Classic Presented by Classic Racing Times. Throughout the event, fans will be able to see over 30 vintage Indy cars make laps on the track. With this weekend’s Mario Andretti 25th anniversary celebration of his final IndyCar win, some of his cars will be featured in the Classic.

The family aspect of racing was visible throughout the day in the Phoenix Mini Copper Cup as the USAC .25 Midgets staged qualifying and heat races for competitors age 5 to 16 in 12 classes on a temporary 1/20th of a mile oval set up on the DC Solar Power Pavilion.

A full day of racing action continues Saturday with USAC .25 Midget heat and feature races and more demonstration runs for older Indy cars as part of the Vintage Desert Classic. The 100-lap Phoenix Copper Cup race takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. with the 250-lap Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Words by ISM Raceway.  Photos by Jim Hahn of Arizona Auto Scene.

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