Dario Franchitti recovered from an off-road excursion to earn his fourth pole of the season and the tenth of his career. After going off course at Turn 2 the public address announcer Mike King all but wrote off Franchitti's chance for the pole but...
Dario Franchitti recovered from an off-road excursion to earn his fourth pole of the season and the tenth of his career. After going off course at Turn 2 the public address announcer Mike King all but wrote off Franchitti's chance for the pole but Davey Hamilton, King's co-host on the P.A. was quick to point out that four minutes remained in the session. Within those four minutes, Franchitti scrubbed the dirt from his tires and put together a lap 0.0498 of a second faster than Ryan Briscoe.
Franchitti said that as the track gained grip throughout the session, he was able to brake later but the rear brakes were beginning to lock. He said he was having problems with the gearbox too and "that's why I went off up at the top of the hill."
After climbing form the car, Franchitti learned that he had been in every Fast Six session this season. "It's pretty cool," he said. "To make it into the Fast Six each time is an achievement every time. So to be in them all, I've got to thank my guys for giving me good cars."
Briscoe said he wasn't very confident going into qualifying. "I didn't have a good practice session this morning," said Briscoe. We "seemed to spend more time in the dirt than on the tarmac."
After making "a few small changes between practice and qualifying," Briscoe said he adjusted his driving style and the "whole thing went very smoothly."
Despite being disappointed with his third place qualifying effort, Helio Castroneves said "qualifying was pretty exciting today, and I think the race shouldn't be much different." Castroneves experienced problems with his throttle as well as fuel pressure problems but "taking all of this into consideration we did okay. The important thing is that the car is great and I'm feeling confident going into tomorrow's race."
Marco Andretti will start fourth after making his first Fast Six appearance of the season. "It wasn't that bad of a qualifying effort for the Venom boys," said Andretti. "We're getting there. We're just learning how to use the red tires to our advantage."
Hideki Mutoh made his first Fast Six appearance after knocking Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan out of the session on his last lap. "Right from the get-go, the Formula Dream car was very good," he said. "It's the first time I'm in the Fast Six, so I'm happy. I made a huge mistake in Turn 5. Hopefully, we can have a good race and score a podium finish tomorrow."
Graham Rahal, who has qualified for all but one Fast Six session, will start sixth. "The McDonald's car felt pretty good all day, especially for not having tested here. I thought we did a good job. There is still work to be done because we certainly struggled quite a lot in that last session of qualifying. It wasn't a very comfortable feeling; we'd like to be closer than that."
Series points leader Scott Dixon will start tenth. Dixon said he was experiencing brake problems that would cause the rear brakes to lock up right away, and halfway through the braking zone, lock the front. After indicating that the problem had been fixed, Dixon noted that he'll look to run an alternative strategy to gain track position on the front runners.
Please see practice accident story:
Power and Philippe injured in Sonoma crash