IRL: Sears Point: Series qualifying report

FRANCHITTI WINS POLE FOR MOTOROLA INDY 300 AT INFINEON; IndyCar Series point leader Dario Franchitti earned his second AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award of the season, earning the top spot for the Motorola Indy 300 presented by Jackson Rancheria ...

FRANCHITTI WINS POLE FOR MOTOROLA INDY 300 AT INFINEON;

IndyCar Series point leader Dario Franchitti earned his second AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award of the season, earning the top spot for the Motorola Indy 300 presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel at Infineon Raceway.

Franchitti recorded a lap of 1 minute, 16.7017 seconds (107.951 mph) on the 2.26-mile, 12-turn circuit in single-car qualifying. No one could top it in the Firestone Fast Six, though teammate Danica Patrick came closest.

Driving the No. 7 Motorola car, Patrick improved four positions with a lap of 1:17.1486 (107.325) to match her career-best starting spot on a road/street course. She was the only driver to improve their time from single-car qualifying.

Tony Kanaan will start third in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car. Helio Castroneves, who topped each of the practice sessions in the No. 3 Team Penske car, will start fourth. Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, and Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 6 Team Penske car will share Row 3.

MOTOROLA INDY 300 POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

This is Dario Franchitti's second pole of the season and the fifth pole of his IndyCar Series career. It is his third consecutive front row start.

Franchitti earned the pole for the second time on a road/street course in the IndyCar Series. He won the pole at St. Petersburg in 2006.

This is Andretti Green Racing's fourth earned pole this season and its 18th pole position in the IndyCar Series.

Danica Patrick qualified second, her second front row start this season. Patrick matched her career-best qualifying effort on a road/street circuit. She also started second at Mid-Ohio in July.

Three drivers improved their lap times in Firestone Fast Six. Only Danica Patrick improved her qualifying position.

MOTOROLA INDY 300 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award winner): "It feels good. The track conditions changed a lot from this morning, but they've been fast all weekend. We did it when it counted. It's great to have my teammate up there as well. That should be an advantage at the start."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified second): "Like I said at Mid-Ohio, these 10-minute sessions really suit what I'm still doing better than normal. We were close to not making it in, but then once we got out there, I took advantage of having the time. It seemed to work out. It wasn't a pretty lap. I think there was still some time left out on the track. All in all we're sitting on the front row again, and it's a long way from where I have been on road courses and from at the beginning of the weekend. I was 12th. I'm glad to be sitting on the front row for the Motorola race."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified third): "It's going to be tough to get to the front tomorrow but it was a good effort today by AGR starting '1-2-3.' The Team 7-Eleven car is definitely good enough to win the race tomorrow. We'll try to help out Dario (Franchitti) since he's in a better position but we're still going to try and win tomorrow. There's no pressure on me. They (Franchitti and Scott Dixon) have to worry about the championship. Whether I finish third or fifth or eighth in the championship is not going to change my life, so I'm going out and trying to win each of the remaining races and see what happens."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified sixth): "We had a lot more in the Team Penske car today, but we just couldn't quite keep the back end under us during qualifying. It's been a little frustrating out there, but I'm very happy with how hard the team has been working. They've really stuck with it this weekend and we're starting in the top-six. Tomorrow is the day that counts, so we'll try and get it done then. While our results haven't quite shown it, we've made a lot of improvements on road courses this season and hopefully we'll be able to put that all together for the race."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified seventh): "It's a shame because two-tenths of a second would have been enough to get us in the Firestone Fast Six. As we have done everywhere, we have been getting quicker and quicker throughout the weekend and the guys gave me a good car today. It's a long race tomorrow and we are in a pretty good spot. Passing opportunities will be hard to come by here, but we'll be ready to take advantage any time we get a chance."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified eighth): "As soon as I started thinking, 'OK, don't screw this up,' I actually went to the brakes earlier than I had all weekend in the final turn, and I just messed it up. The car was really loose throughout the run, but I think we had enough to make it into the shootout until the last corner. It was total stupidity on my part. The NYSE car has been good all weekend, but we'll have to work to get to the front tomorrow."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified ninth): "It was OK. I just don't know why we're struggling. We've been quite quick on the road courses in the past, and we've been knocking on the door to make the Firestone Fast Six, but I don't think that's going to happen here today. We need to have a car that races really well here to make a strong run. We'll have to see, but I think we can definitely do better. We're the only team that didn't come out and test so we're testing right now. We obviously made some changes for qualifying and it's definitely helping us somewhat. We just need to get a little bit better but we have tomorrow morning."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "The Team Penske car has been really quick all weekend, but when we came out for qualifying, the wind had picked up. We knew it would affect our times a little bit, but it seemed to affect us the most. After seeing the practice speeds, we knew the pole would be difficult to capture because there are a handful of drivers that were really close. Since the top cars were so close in qualifying, I'm expecting a very competitive race. We're going to try our best to keep the car on the track tomorrow, but we're also going to be pushing very hard to pick up our second win of the season."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fifth): "The whole weekend, we've really been struggling with it. We decided to go test at Sebring instead of Sonoma with the Indy Pro Series (bonus) test, so that may have hurt us. Hopefully what we did there is going to help us in Detroit. We've just missed it all weekend. It's really hard to get a lap together; the car is pretty inconsistent. Maybe with full tanks and a few changes we'll be a little bit better in the race. At least three guys and girls up front have it pretty covered in their cars."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "I think we just overdrove our lap a little bit. It was unfortunate. The car is reasonably good. It was good in today's practice session. We just have to make sure we move forward in the race."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing