Dixon bumps Meria to earn Kentucky pole

Dixon bumps Meria to earn Kentucky pole

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon won pole for Saturday evening's Meijer 300 IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway with a four-lap average speed of 218.968 mph, besting Panther Racing's Vitor Meira for the top spot on...

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon won pole for Saturday evening's Meijer 300 IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway with a four-lap average speed of 218.968 mph, besting Panther Racing's Vitor Meira for the top spot on the grid.

Scott Dixon.
Photo by Kurt Dahlstrom.

It is Dixon's fifth pole of the season and 13th of his career, tying the New Zelander with Greg Ray for second-most in series history. Helio Castroneves owns the record with twenty-five pole starts.

"It was good today," said Dixon, who has swept through the season in a purposeful march toward the IndyCar Series title. "We were quick after testing here last week, and the qualifying run was very comfortable."

"The car had a little bit of understeer, but it was still very good."

Meira's 218.409 mph mark looked good enough to take the pole until Dixon blazed around the 1.5 mile oval at a speed that bettered the Panther driver's pace by over half a mile per hour.

"It was a an uneventful qualifying effort," said Meira, who'll start this race in the highest placement he's achieved on the grid since Homestead/Miami in 2005.

"We capitalized on what we can do well and simply moved forward throughout the day. We unloaded fast and didn't do much to change the car."

Dixon teammate Dan Wheldon was third-quickest (218.332 mph) and will start on the inside of row two next to Andretti Green Racing's rookie Hideki Mutoh (217.696 mph).

Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe was fifth-fastest on a four-lap average speed of 217.665 mph; followed by teammate Helio Castroneves (217.642 mph).

On the fourth row are Tony Kanaan (217.604 mph) and Ed Carpenter of Vision Racing (217.469 mph); while Marco Andretti (217.404 mph) and A J Foyt IV (217.286 mph) round out the top ten.

Danica Patrick suffered moderately severe right-sided damage to her No. 7 Dallara/Honda at approximately 4 PM EDT during final IndyCar Series practice when she appeared to experience a suspension or tire failure to the right rear and collided with the wall.

Danica was quickly cleared at the infield medical center to return to competition.

The AGR team could not ready a backup car in time for Patrick to make a qualifying attempt, and she will start in the last row alongside Bruno Junqueira.

Junqueira also failed to make a qualifying attempt after extensive modifications to improve his car's handling left him out of time to clear technical inspection.

As a result, he'll bring up the rear when the race commences at 6:30 PM EDT Saturday evening.

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