IRL: Rivals Dixon, Franchitti on Nashville front row

Scott Dixon spent the day atop the speed charts at the Nashville Speedway and will start Saturday night's race from the pole position after qualifying at 204.414 mph. Dixon was quick to put in a fast lap, topping the first practice session on his...

Scott Dixon spent the day atop the speed charts at the Nashville Speedway and will start Saturday night's race from the pole position after qualifying at 204.414 mph. Dixon was quick to put in a fast lap, topping the first practice session on his 11th tour of the 1.3-mile high banked speedway.

"We need to put the pressure on the AGR (Andretti Green Racing) guys anytime we can, leading sessions and leading qualifying," said Dixon.

Starting up front will be a key to tomorrow's race where passing may be difficult. "Tougher than we've had it in the past," noted Dixon. Although it may be hard to pass at Nashville, Dixon won't be holding back. "We'll have to see how it plays out. Once it cools off at night time, it might open up the second groove and give people the opportunity to pass."

Dixon trails Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti in the championship standings by 47 points. He trimmed 18 points off the lead by winning at Watkins Glen last weekend, while Franchitti finished third.

Franchitti will start second tomorrow after turning his fastest lap of the day in qualifying. "It wasn't a bad day," he said. "We did one qualifying simulation in the first session and then made a couple small changes. It seemed to work."

Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr will share the second row. Kanaan said he qualified as expected. "I don't think I had anything left in the car. We set a goal for qualifying and we reached it."

Hornish expected more. "I think we've got a much better race car than what we showed in qualifying. It's not exactly where we wanted to start, but we're in the top five, which is decent."

Dan Wheldon will start 5th with Helio Castroneves starting alongside him on the outside of the third row.

Castroneves missed his spot in the qualifying line and was given one lap to get the job done. "We weren't happy with the car in practice.

"Shortly before qualifying, we found something in the gearbox that we thought might be causing our problem. Instead of rushing to get it fixed, go through tech and get into the qualifying line, we decided to pull out of line, take our time, go last and take our chances with one qualifying lap. Fortunately, we ran our best lap of the day in qualifying," explained Castroneves.

Andretti Green Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti will share the fourth row with Rahal Letterman teammates Jeff Simmons and Scott on row five to round out the top ten starting positions.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Danica Patrick , Sam Hornis