Helio Castroneves toured the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen circuit at an average speed of 136.021 mph to earn his fifth pole of the season. Now Castroneves will have to turn his fast qualifying speed into a solid result in the race. Despite 7 top five ...
Helio Castroneves toured the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen circuit at an average speed of 136.021 mph to earn his fifth pole of the season. Now Castroneves will have to turn his fast qualifying speed into a solid result in the race. Despite 7 top five starts this season, Castroneves has only scored 3 top 5 finishes.
"We need to be smart and wait for the right opportunity," he said. "We'll also have to watch for any unexpected situations, like debris."
This is Castroneves' third straight pole at Watkins Glen. In his two previous appearances at the Finger Lakes circuit he has finished 12th (2005) and 7th (2006). Last year the pole was set by practice speeds when qualifying was washed out.
Scott Dixon, who is looking to win his third consecutive race at Watkins Glen, will start alongside Castroneves. Both drivers will be trying to cut Dario Franchitti's points lead in Sunday's race.
"We're waiting for AGR (Andretti Green Racing) to have their bad luck streak," said Dixon. "We've all ready had ours. They been consistent and that's why they're leading the championship."
Dixon, second in the championship, trails Franchitti 359-294.
Castroneves, although sixth in the standings with 245 points, is still a contender. "I can't tell you how Dario will be doing tomorrow but I can tell you we will be doing very well."
Franchitti, who is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, will start third. Despite a limited number of laps in each practice session, he was always near the top of the speed charts. In the third and final practice session he was the second fastest driver after turning a total of 7 laps.
Franchitti settled for teammate Tony Kanaan's set up for qualifying and was still not entirely pleased with his car. "I think we got all we could out of the Canadian Club car. We'll have to sit down tonight and see what we can do to make the car better for tomorrow."
Kanaan said he was "reasonably happy" with his fourth place starting position. "It's a long way around this place and you have to really be perfect all the way around to be on the pole, and we're not quite there yet."
Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti will start on the third row. Hornish was third fastest after single car qualifying but fell to fifth after the Firestone Fast Six session. "While we like being part of these (Firestone Fast Six), we seem to always move backwards," Hornish said.
Castroneves and Dixon swapped starting positions in the Fast Six session while Dario Franchitti went from sixth to third.
Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira will share the fourth row while Darren Manning and Dan Wheldon round out the top 10 positions in Sunday's starting lineup.