IRL: Indy 500: Sunday Pole Day report

KANAAN WINS MBNA POLE AWARD AT INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 15, 2005 -- 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan went out early in qualifying, posted the best time and then waited. And waited. His patience was finally ...

KANAAN WINS MBNA POLE AWARD AT INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 15, 2005 -- 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan went out early in qualifying, posted the best time and then waited. And waited. His patience was finally rewarded.

Kanaan, third in the qualifying line, won the MBNA Pole Award for the 89th Indianapolis 500 after recording a four-lap average of 227.566 mph (2 minutes, 38.1961 seconds) on a cool and breezy day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sam Hornish Jr., who had the 10th-best speed through the initial round of qualifiers, withdrew the car per the qualifying rules and made a second run at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). Hornish improved to second after a four-lap average of 227.273 mph. That bumped Scott Sharp, who kicked off qualifying with a four-lap average of 227.126 mph, to third.

"We made a couple adjustments to pick up more downforce so we'd have more grip around the track," said Kanaan, who posted qualifying laps of 227.821 mph, 227.771, 227.459 and 227.212. "I'm pleased with my run. I think I pushed too hard too soon, but I'm pleased with the run."

The front row for the May 29 classic is comprised of IndyCar Series champions (Kanaan, 2004; Hornish, 2001 and '02; and Sharp, 1996 co-champion). It is Kanaan's sixth career pole, and his first for the 500-Mile Race.

IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick also had consistent lap speeds -- on her final three (227.638, 227.623 and 227.860). But the first lap of 224.940 mph (she had to lift when the car developed a wiggle coming out of Turn 1) prevented her from challenging for the pole. She will start on the inside of Row 2.

"We just missed it a little bit," Patrick said.

Patrick, the highest-placed woman in "500" history, will be joined by two-time race winner Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti. Castroneves had posted the fourth-best time earlier in the session, but Marlboro Team Penske owner Roger Penske withdrew the time at 5:50 p.m. for Castroneves to make a run at the pole. Driving the No. 3 Toyota-powered Dallara, Castroneves started strong with a lap of 227.330 mph. But he fell off the pace and fell one spot to fifth on the grid.

Twenty-two cars qualified under the new procedure, with the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone driven by Alex Barron checking in at No. 22. Barron's time had been bumped by Franchitti's time, but he returned for an attempt with 35 minutes remaining. He posted a four-lap average of 221.053 mph.

Rookie Ryan Briscoe's No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone made contact with the retaining wall between Turns 1 and 2 on his third warm-up lap. He climbed from the car without assistance and was checked and cleared to drive.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ABC at 1 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 27.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing