IRL: Dixon earns first pole of season in Sonoma

Scott Dixon trimmed seven tenths of a second from his qualifying lap, emerging from the six car qualifying shootout at Infineon Raceway with his first pole of the season. After a session involving single car qualifying, where Marco Andretti set...

Scott Dixon trimmed seven tenths of a second from his qualifying lap, emerging from the six car qualifying shootout at Infineon Raceway with his first pole of the season. After a session involving single car qualifying, where Marco Andretti set the fastest time, the top six cars returned to the track for a European style qualifying session.

"The car felt decent all weekend, but in some ways we were lucky to get the pole," Dixon said. "We put in just enough fuel for about five laps in the final session and we didn't have time to get more than that."

Dixon earned the top spot after averaging 107.484 mph (77.0344 seconds) around the 2.3-mile road circuit, moving him up five positions on the final grid. "I think we could have gone a lot quicker on the single lap but I just tried to get into the top six. I did what I needed to do during the final session with the six cars."

Marco Andretti will start second after trimming nearly half a second (0.4224 seconds) from his single lap effort.

"It's going to be a long day tomorrow, as all the drivers know," said Andretti. "This place is about track position and fortunately we have that now."

Scott Dixon agreed.

"This is a hard place to pass and it's hard to get a good run, so it's super important to start up front at this place."

Helio Castroneves, second fastest in the single car session, will start third. "We thought we had a good shot at winning the pole," Castroneves reported. "But when we got out there it seemed like the track had changed. We were having some problems with the carousel."

Tony Kanaan will start fourth followed by his Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti. While three of the team's cars will start in the top five, the team's fourth entry, driven by Bryan Herta will start ninth.

Dixon's Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon made it into the final six car shootout but was the only driver to remain in the same position after both sessions. He will start sixth. "We would have liked to move up a bit in the top six but it's a reasonable starting position."

With passing opportunities at a premium, Wheldon said, "Strategy will be really important here to move us up and the pit stops take on more importance than usual."

Ryan Briscoe will start seventh after putting in a qualifying lap at 105.800 mph. "My goal was to make it into the top six but we're making strides," he said. "We have sort of been struggling a bit in practice and loosing our balance. That qualifying run wasn't perfect but I put in a pretty good lap, best we've had so far this weekend."

Vitor Meira qualified eighth while Sam Hornish will start tenth after qualifying over a second and a half off the pole time. "We're not very happy with our qualifying run, but fortunately today's not the day that counts," said Hornish. "Tomorrow's the day that matters, so we just have to focus and make sure we stay out of trouble."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing