Mikhail Aleshin became the first Russian-born driver to secure a Verizon IndyCar Series pole position, and admitted that he was delighted for his team to be able to set the pace in qualifying at Pocono Raceway on Saturday.
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsport driver continued to lead the way after also setting the pace in free practice earlier in the day, with Aleshin heaping a lot of praise on the team that stood by the Russian throughout a difficult 2015 season spent mainly on the sidelines, and is now looking to reward them by aiming for victory on Sunday.
“It’s obviously very difficult to explain what I feel now,” said Aleshin. “But it’s a lot of emotions definitely. Maybe you cannot see it with my Russian face, but it’s true.
“I’m very happy for the team first of all because we’ve been through many things. We’ve been through some very difficult situations at the end of 2014. They supported me then. Then I came back last year for single race, the last race in Sonoma, and finished in the top 10.
“This year, I mean, we had some good things, some difficult things – races, I mean. I think the last part of the season has been really good, and we had really good progress.
“Just the whole team all together, me, everyone else. It’s a team sport here, for sure. Every tiny thing is very important in the end result. So I’m definitely very, very happy to be here.”