IRL: Indy 500: Toyota Pole Day report

HORNISH PUTS TOYOTA ON THE FRONT ROW FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500 - Sam Hornish Jr. qualified second to put his Marlboro Toyota on the front row for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, falling just short of earning Toyota's second '500' pole...

HORNISH PUTS TOYOTA ON THE FRONT ROW FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500

- Sam Hornish Jr. qualified second to put his Marlboro Toyota on the front row for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, falling just short of earning Toyota's second '500' pole in the past three years. The front row start is the first for the two-time IndyCar Series champion at Indianapolis and surpasses his previous best Indy qualifying mark of seventh in 2001. Making the performance even more impressive was Hornish and the Penske's team quick turnaround after a Friday incident that saw Hornish Jr. go airborne and flip over after running over debris from Paul Dana's practice crash.

- Today's qualifying performance also marks the third consecutive day of running that Sam Hornish Jr. has been the fastest Toyota on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track after leading the manufacturer's contingent in practice on both Thursday and Friday.

- Helio Castroneves made it two Marlboro Toyota's in the top five for Penske Racing with a fifth in qualifying today. The 2001 and 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner provided one of the most exciting moments of Pole Day as the team withdrew his fourth-fastest qualifying time just minutes before the track was to close to make one last valiant effort for the pole. Castroneves moved into the second position after his first lap, but couldn't maintain that speed and slipped to fifth overall. The Brazilian was going for his second '500' pole after earning the top spot in a similar daring move in blustery conditions in 2003.

- Overcoming a difficult week, Target Chip Ganassi Racing put two of its three Toyota-powered Target cars into the field today as 2003 IRL champion Scott Dixon placed 13th, while Darren Manning qualified 19th in his first run at the track since a hard crash on Thursday. The team did suffer one setback on the day, though, as rookie Ryan Briscoe (Target Pioneer Toyota) made contact with the wall on his second lap of his qualifying effort.

- Alex Barron (Red Bull Toyota) became the fifth Toyota-powered driver in this year's field as he bumped his way into the field in the track's first year of day-by-day bumping to place 22nd on the day.

- Eight Toyota-powered entries are expected to attempt to qualify next weekend.

-toyota-

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Series INDYCAR