Chicagoland: Team Penske qualifying report

Briscoe Takes Pole Position At Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, Ill. (September 6, 2008) -- Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 after posting the fastest four-lap average of the day at ...

Briscoe Takes Pole Position At Chicagoland Speedway

JOLIET, Ill. (September 6, 2008) -- Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 after posting the fastest four-lap average of the day at Chicagoland Speedway - 215.818 mph - in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Sunday afternoon's race is the final IndyCar Series championship points event of the 2008 IndyCar Series season, and will determine the series' champion.

Saturday's qualifying effort marked Briscoe's third pole of the season and the sixth for Team Penske. Furthermore, Briscoe has started from the front row in five of the 17 races this season. "What a way to finish up this season," said Briscoe, who last appeared at the Illinois 1.5-mile oval in 2005. "The car was great right off the truck this weekend. It's a great feeling to get the pole here in Chicago."

Briscoe already has clinched fifth position in the final 2008 IndyCar Series standings in his first year with Team Penske's IndyCar Series program. "I was able to turn things around and get some really good, strong races off this year," said Briscoe about his successful season, which included two wins (Milwaukee, Mid-Ohio) and multiple top-ten finishes. "I really felt as though I've seen what's gone on and I've been becoming more competitive and more consistent. The big focus for me has been on the ovals, just really preparing myself for next year. I'm looking forward to a strong race tomorrow."

2008 IndyCar Series championship contender Helio Castroneves, who is a mere 30 points behind leader Scott Dixon heading into Sunday's event, ran strong enough for fourth spot on the grid in his No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. However, Castroneves' effort was disqualified after his car dropped below the white line during his qualifying run. He will start the race in the 28th spot.

"It's hard going to a place where there are so many variables and so many other drivers and competitors," said Castroneves about Chicagoland Speedway, one of the few places on the IndyCar Series' schedule where he has not claimed victory. "The difference can be one car - even if one car is one mile-an-hour faster when you have the draft, it definitely accomplishes that. What I need to do is what I've been doing since I started racing here, so there is not much of a difference. We've got a goal, and we've got a plan. We need to win, and we're going to try everything we can to do that."

-credit: pr

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Series INDYCAR