Castroneves Claims Indy 500 Pole An exciting final hour Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw Team Penske's Helio Castroneves withdraw an earlier qualifying run, then make a successful Indy 500 pole qualifying effort with less than ...
Castroneves Claims Indy 500 Pole
An exciting final hour Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw Team Penske's Helio Castroneves withdraw an earlier qualifying run, then make a successful Indy 500 pole qualifying effort with less than 10 minutes remaining in the day.
Castroneves' four-lap average of 225.817 miles per hour eclipsed the earlier run of Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti, who had set the provisional pole mark of 225.149 mph in the first hour of qualifying. Franchitti's teammate, Tony Kanaan, then became another one of five drivers to withdraw a previous qualifying speed and make a second attempt. Kanaan came up just six-hundredths of a mile an hour short as the gun sounded at 6 p.m. EDT to end first-day qualifying.
A total of 22 qualifying attempts were made, all within the first and last hour of the noon-6 p.m. qualifying day, to set the first 11 starting positions in the 33-car starting field. Six cars, including those of 2004 Indy winner Buddy Rice and A.J. Foyt IV, were "bumped" from the top 11. Second-day qualifying on Sunday will set the next 11 grid positions, with the final 11 positions and "bumping" taking place on May 19-20.
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) Pole Qualifier, his second Indy 500 pole and a record 14th '500' pole for Team Penske: "I can't thank Team Penske enough, starting off with Roger [Penske] and [Team President] Tim Cindric. We just kept digging and digging all day long. They gave more than 100 per cent today. At the end, the team left it up to me [to make a second qualifying attempt], so I had to do it! Andretti Green did an incredible job today, both Tony [Kanaan] and Dario [Franchitti] were very tough to beat. But, like Rick Mears likes to say, there are two 'races' at Indianapolis: qualifying and the race. Today we 'won' qualifying, but now we have to focus on the race."
Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda) Qualified 2nd, has never started lower than 5th at the Indy 500: "I think we made the people in the stands happy today, and that's what it's all about. We weren't going to go out again unless someone bumped Dario off the pole. When that happened we gave it our best shot. We came close -- I think if I'd shaved this morning that might have made the difference -- but I pushed a bit coming out of Turn Two on the last lap and that was the difference. We DID put all five cars in the top 11, and that is pretty significant for AGR."