Dario Franchitti will lead the field to the green flag for Saturday night's IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The usual suspects will start from the front two rows with the Ganassi drivers on the inside and Team Penske drivers on the ...
Dario Franchitti will lead the field to the green flag for Saturday night's IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The usual suspects will start from the front two rows with the Ganassi drivers on the inside and Team Penske drivers on the outside.
"It definitely helps to start up front at Texas," said Franchitti after earning his seventh series pole with four laps at 214.513 mph. "In qualifying it's all about how the crew puts the car together and the setup. Tomorrow I get to earn my money."
Briscoe qualified at 214.413 mph, missing the pole by 45 one-thousandths of a second over the course of four laps. "It was a pretty good run but Dario had just a little bit more speed," said Briscoe. "We did a lot of pack running yesterday and the car was good. We ran in the heat today and the car was good, so it's good in a lot of different conditions. We should be good tomorrow night."
Briscoe is making his third consecutive front row start.
For the reigning IndyCar champion and last year's winner on the Texas oval, today was Scott Dixon's best qualifying effort of the year. After his victory last weekend on the Milwaukee Mile, Dixon holds the points lead over Briscoe.
Helio Castroneves had a problem in qualifying at Milwaukee last week and started from the back of the field. "It's much better to be in the front than in the back," said Castroneves, who will start from the outside of the second row.
During qualifying, Castroneves said, "I put the pedal to the metal, but it was just one of those days where there was not much happening. It's too bad because we have a quick car and we didn't qualify as fast as I thought we would. We'll move on to tomorrow and the important thing is that it's a long race."
Danica Patrick led the Andretti Green Racing contingent, qualifying fifth at 213.929 mph. "The car felt really good as soon as I went out," Patrick said. "We made a few small changes to the car for the qualifying run that were helpful." As the second driver to qualify, Patrick thought she had posted a good time. "I wish we could've held on to the pole, but I think we are going to be really competitive tomorrow night."
Marco Andretti qualified eighth, three positions behind Patrick and Hideki Mutoh was 11th. Both Andretti Green drivers were happy with their qualifying runs. "I'm content with were we qualified tonight," said Andretti. "We didn't put a heavy focus on the qualifying set up for the No. 26 car and during our run we had a problem with the roll bar. I had to make adjustments every lap, which I think cost us some time. Overall not bad for the Venom boys, I think we'll be competitive and make our way through traffic without problems. I look forward to the race."
Mutoh was pleased too. "I'm happy with today's qualifying run," he said. "We focused most of our practice on the race set-up and I think we have a really good car for the race. I did well here last year, so hopefully we can do the same come tomorrow night."
Odd man out at Andretti Green was Tony Kanaan, who, uncharacteristically, qualified 16th. "It's been a very challenging weekend for the Team 7-Eleven car," Kanaan said. "We are not were we want to be; the car felt slow during the qualifying run. I know the No. 11 guys have been working really hard and I know they are just as frustrated. We have some work to do before tomorrow night."
Mario Moreas and Dan Wheldon will start sixth and seventh, respectively. Wheldon caught a big draft in Thursday's practice and set the fastest lap of the day at 215.783 mph. Today he qualified at 213.596 mph.
"When you look at qualifying, we did the same time that we did on our own earlier in the day in practice," said Wheldon. "We're still not where we need to be, but we're looking for areas where we can improve."
Robert Doornbos qualified ninth with Ed Carpenter rounding out the top ten starting positions. Doornbos' Newman/Haas/Lanigan teammate Graham Rahal was seventh fastest in practice earlier today but he qualified 12th.
"It's frustrating because the team expected to be faster than this," said Rahal. "To be quite honest, all weekend I thought that something was amiss. I didn't feel like the car was pulling properly. I noticed this morning that we couldn't tow up on people in the draft. It's unfortunate because you get so used to being so competitive. To come here and not be is frustrating. We hope that we can figure something out here so we can get a little more speed for passing in the race"