Dixon claims Texas pole

Scott Dixon proved he was fast on Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway when he recorded the best lap during the single 90-minute practice session. Dixon picked up where he left off Thursday, earning the pole for Saturday night's Bombardier LearJet ...

Scott Dixon proved he was fast on Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway when he recorded the best lap during the single 90-minute practice session. Dixon picked up where he left off Thursday, earning the pole for Saturday night's Bombardier LearJet 550.

With wind gusts between 35-40 mph, speeds during Thursday's practice session were below 214 mph. Dixon topped Thursday's charts with a single lap at 213.837 mph. During qualifying, Dixon averaged 214.878 mph over four laps.

"I didn't think it was going to be enough," said Dixon after earning his fourth pole this season. "It's shocking to be honest. Hopefully the car stays the same as tonight and we don't change too much for tomorrow's race."

Dixon's Target Ganassi teammate Dan Wheldon was involved in a horrific crash during practice. After making hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4, his car slid down the banking, entered the grass in the tri-oval and flipped over. The car stayed inverted, writhing and twisting as it ground to a halt in the grass.

Safety crews arrived immediately after the car came to a rest and quickly accessed the situation. The car was turned back over and Wheldon was assisted from the car before limping to the safety vehicle under his own power.

"We had a failure," said Wheldon. "It wasn't through preparation of the team, the team always does an excellent job. I'm sure the team will look very hard to see what it was. The front of the car reached maximum load. Right before that point, something broke and it shot me straight into the wall."

Wheldon was checked and released from the infield care center. X-rays on his right foot were negative. "My right foot really hit the side of the tub very hard," said Wheldon, who was later seen near the driver motorhome area with his foot wrapped and a single crutch.

Wheldon was cleared to qualify a backup car and he is expected to start 11th.

Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will start second and third, respectively. Castroneves said he had "one lap that was fast, but we needed four and unfortunately we weren't able to do that. I wish we could go back to the old way we used to qualify, but it is what it is."

Briscoe set the fastest lap in Friday's practice session at 214.648 mph. After Briscoe's four lap qualifying run, he missed Dixon's mark by 0.0442 seconds. "We're a little disappointed that we weren't able to turn in a better result in qualifying today, but we were off a bit on our gears," Briscoe reported. "Fortunately we have a fast car, so we should be able to lead pack in tomorrow's race."

Hideki Mutoh will start fourth, a career best while his Andretti Green Racing teammate Danica Patrick will start fifth. Patrick's first lap was fast enough to best Mutoh but "the car got slower as the run went on."

The second pair of Andretti Green Racing cars fills the seventh row with Tony Kanaan 13th and Marco Andretti 14th.

Kanaan was not pleased. "We don't have the speed this weekend and I don't know what to do," said Kanaan. "My teammates have the speed but our race car isn't very good so we have our work cut out for us."

Andretti was more optimistic. "This place is tough and anybody can win here."

Tomas Scheckter will start sixth followed by John Andretti driving a Marty Roth entry and Will Power, who will start 8th. Vitor Meira and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top ten starting positions.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Will Power , Hideki Mutoh , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske