IRL: Indy 500: Firestone Racing Pole Day report

Kanaan Paces 22 Firestone Qualifiers on Belated Indy 500 Pole Day Reigning IRL IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan threw down the gauntlet early on with a four-lap average of 227.566 mph, and though many tried, no one was able to eclipse the ...

Kanaan Paces 22 Firestone Qualifiers on Belated Indy 500 Pole Day

Reigning IRL IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan threw down the gauntlet early on with a four-lap average of 227.566 mph, and though many tried, no one was able to eclipse the Andretti Green Racing driver's speed in today's chase for the pole position. It means Kanaan, in the 7-Eleven Honda/Dallara on Firestone tires, will lead the field to the green flag for the start of the 89th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

In all, 22 drivers qualified today for the May 29 race, after pole day time trials were rained out Saturday. Among the 22 is Danica Patrick of Rahal Letterman Racing, who qualified fourth fastest to earn the best starting position for a woman driver in race history. For the sixth straight year, every competitor at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is driving on Firestone Firehawk tires. The remainder of the 33-car field will be filled in time trials next weekend.

"The new qualifying format certainly provided additional drama throughout the day, with front-runners Sam Hornish Jr., Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves withdrawing earlier qualifying runs and taking additional shots at the pole," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Firestone Racing. "But Tony was able to weather all the challenges today. It was also great to see Danica Patrick become the highest-qualifying woman in Indy 500 history.

"One thing we know for sure," Speyer added, "is that the Firestone tires have been put to the test already in this first week -- we've seen nearly 6,500 laps and more than 16,000 miles run -- and the Firehawks have more than measured up to the task. Now we look forward to filling the field next weekend and seeing who the 56th Firestone winner of the Indianapolis 500 will be in two weeks."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 70 to 98 degrees track and from 53 to 58 degrees ambient (F).

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 21 to 37 degrees track and from 11 to 14 degrees ambient (C).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick