Briscoe earns third Chicagoland pole

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Briscoe earns third Chicagoland pole

Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position for the Indy 300 under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28. This was Briscoe's third consecutive pole at the 1.5-mile high banked speedway, which is located in Joliet, Ill. Briscoe has...

Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position for the Indy 300 under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28. This was Briscoe's third consecutive pole at the 1.5-mile high banked speedway, which is located in Joliet, Ill. Briscoe has earned three poles this season, all of which have come at 1.5-mile speedways (Kansas and Texas)

Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske.
Photo by Indy Racing League.

"The car today was just spot on," Briscoe said. "I didn't want to be overconfident but I was thinking after that run, man, that's got to be hard to beat. I knew we were fully trimmed out and the car felt really solid. It was a great qualifying run today and I'm just really hoping that we can follow through tomorrow and have another good race."

Dario Franchitti will start second, separating Briscoe from his Team Penske teammates, Helio Castroneves and Will Power, who will start on the second row.

This is Franchitti's 10th consecutive top five start of the season.

"Qualifying is a like an engineering exercise," said Franchitti. "It's getting all of those pieces into place and then if you miss one of them, or in Ryan's case, if you get them all just right, then you see the result. We'd like to have that extra point (for the pole) but we're starting up front and I think we have a pretty good car in race trim."

Franchitti was eighth fastest in the final practice held late Friday afternoon.

Will Power, fastest in the final practice session, will start third. "Our car is fast in race trim and this track is all about the racing," reported Power. "I am looking forward to tomorrow night. We have been knocking on the door on some of the earlier oval races and we are due for our first oval win."

Power's third place starting position ends his streak of six consecutive races starting from the front row.

After qualifying fourth, Helio Castroneves said, "It's good to be back on the ovals, especially here at Chicagoland. The car was good for qualifying. I was really kind of expecting to go 216 mph, but maybe the track was a little slower than practice this morning because of the different rubber on the track."

Briscoe was the only driver to qualify with a speed over 216 mph (216.346 mph).

Marco Andretti showed good speed throughout the day qualifying fifth. "I think we hit the set up on the car about as good as we were going to for qualifying today. We can't expect much more than that as far as our speed, but I'm optimistic for the race. It's always different when you're on the racetrack with 28 other cars but I think it can be done from fifth."

Both Newman Haas drivers qualified in the top eight. Graham Rahal will start sixth and Hideki Mutoh eighth. Both drivers were pleased with their qualifying efforts.

"It was nice to have a good car to be confident and comfortable in," said Rahal. "The qualifying car was as good as we could have it. We're lacking a little bit of speed overall but we're pleased with the starting position."

After qualifying, Mutoh noted that he had used Rahal's setup for his own car.

Dan Wheldon qualified seventh. Ryan Hunter-Reay will start ninth with Takuma Sato rounding out the top ten.

Scott Dixon ended his streak of 45 consecutive top-ten starts and will line up 15th.

The 29 car field includes a record-tying five females. Danica Patrick led the way in qualifying and will start 12th. Ana Beatriz will start 22nd, Sarah Fisher 25th, Milka Duno 26th and rookie of the year contender Simona de Silvestro will start 27th.

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Series INDYCAR