IRL: Phoenix: Honda Racing Saturday report

Kanaan continues pole pace. Tony Kanaan continues to be the man to beat in IRL IndyCar Series qualifying this season. For the second consecutive race, the Honda-powered driver has placed his 7-Eleven sponsored machine at the front of the ...

Kanaan continues pole pace.

Tony Kanaan continues to be the man to beat in IRL IndyCar Series qualifying this season. For the second consecutive race, the Honda-powered driver has placed his 7-Eleven sponsored machine at the front of the 22-car starting field for Sunday's Purex/Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kanaan also was the pole qualifier for the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month.

Top ten single-car qualifying runs were posted by all five Honda drivers, with Kanaan's team leader, Michael Andretti, running fifth fastest, just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Team Rahal's Kenny Brack, who led the field in Friday's opening practice sessions.

Dario Franchitti in the third Andretti Green Racing entry and Fernandez Super Aguri Racing's Roger Yasukawa rounded out the top ten qualifiers. Yasukawa leads the IRL rookie points standings as a result of his 14th place finish in Florida.

Sunday's 200-lap race starts at 3:30 p.m. ET, and is scheduled to be broadcast live on ABC. However, continuing coverage of the war in Iraq may see the race shifted to the ESPN cable television network.

Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda) Pole Qualifier: "It feels good, for sure. Again, it's great teamwork. I need to thank Michael [Andretti] and Dario [Franchitti]. It looks like I'm repeating everything that I said in Miami, but we work so well together. I was lucky to pull out a [qualifying order] number behind my two teammates, so I got feedback from them about the track conditions. I added a little bit of front wing and my car was just perfect. I never thought I would say that, but the lap was flat out. I don't know how could I have gone any quicker. It was just awesome. Days like today, a lap like I did today, I'm going to keep in my mind for a long time because it was a good lap. I'll follow [Michael Andretti's] instructions for the race. He said, 'just be patient, take care of your tires and be patient with traffic'. It's not that I'm a rookie on a mile oval. I've been in a couple of mile-oval races in Milwaukee and Nazareth."

-honda-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Roger Yasukawa