IRL: Michigan: Honda Saturday report

Kanaan, Matsuura Start 1-2 in Michigan Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship leader Tony Kanaan and rookie points leader Kosuke Matsuura will start from the front row at the Michigan Indy 400 following Indy Racing League IndyCar...

Kanaan, Matsuura Start 1-2 in Michigan

Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship leader Tony Kanaan and rookie points leader Kosuke Matsuura will start from the front row at the Michigan Indy 400 following Indy Racing League IndyCar Series qualifying action Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

The pole is the first of the season Kanaan, although the Andretti Green Racing driver has won three races this year and currently leads the drivers' championship by 64 points. The outside front row is also Matsuura's best starting position of the year. The rookie leader previously started fourth for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing at both Texas Motor Speedway and his "home" race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Team Penske's Helio Castroneves initially posted the second-fastest time, but will now start from the rear of the field after his team elected to make an engine change following qualifying.

This is Honda's ninth pole in 10 IRL events this season, and the seventh time Honda drivers have qualified 1-2 or better. Indy 500 race winner Buddy Rice leads the series with four poles this year, and will start Sunday's 400-mile race from sixth, alongside his Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Vitor Meira.

Two more Andretti Green Racing entries, Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta, will start eighth and ninth, while Fernandez Racing owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will start 10th, followed by Milwaukee race winner Dario Franchitti. Mark Taylor will line up 17th in his third race for Access Motorsports since joining the team last month at Nashville.

Honda will be chasing its ninth consecutive IndyCar Series victory when Sunday's 200-lap race starts at 3 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.

Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda): pole qualifier today, third career IRL pole: "We knew we had a good car from this morning's practice. Plus, I had a Honda engine! Really, Honda is giving us very good engines. The only question in my mind prior to qualifying was the track conditions. But my team has worked so hard all weekend, we anticipated what we would need and I was confident prior to my run. During qualifying I was flat out all the way around and the car was good, so here we are on the pole. It feels good to get my first one this year."

-honda-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira