IRL: Sharp cuts his way to Texas pole

Scott Sharp waited until qualifying to turn his fastest lap of the weekend, earning the pole for Saturday night's Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sharp toured the superspeedway, officially scored as 1.455 miles, at an average speed...

Scott Sharp waited until qualifying to turn his fastest lap of the weekend, earning the pole for Saturday night's Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sharp toured the superspeedway, officially scored as 1.455 miles, at an average speed of 215.260 mph for his first pole of the season. Sharp, a two-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway, was the only driver to break the 215 mph barrier.

"We've been a little behind this season," said Sharp, driver of the Rahal Letterman Racing Patron Tequila Dallara. "The team has been working very hard and it's starting to payoff. The car rolled off the trailer working very well and our race car is very good. We nailed it right off the trailer. The car was stable, had great grip and handled well though the corner."

Last year's pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. will start second. Hornish emerged smiling from his Team Penske Dallara after topping Dario Franchitti with a lap at 214.518 mph but Sharp managed to shave more than one-tenth of a second from his best practice lap, relegating Hornish to the outside of the front row.

"We were a little bit better than we expected, but obviously, we didn't get the job done," said Hornish. Noting the length of the race, Hornish said patience would be the key and "if you've got a good car, you can start in the back and win."

Dario Franchitti also set his best lap in qualifying (214.411 mph) and will start third.

Tony Kanaan was the first driver to qualify, setting the bar at 213.844 mph. More than half the field took shots at Kanaan's mark before Franchitti toppled his teammate from the pole. Kanaan will start alongside Franchitti on the second row.

Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five with a lap at 213.327 mph.

Danica Patrick will start sixth, followed by Scott Dixon and Sharp's teammate Jeff Simmons in eighth. Tomas Scheckter and Dan Wheldon will start on the fifth row.

Scott Dixon, who had been a favorite for the pole after topping the speed charts on Thursday, suffered an apparent equipment failure during practice which resulted in contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier. Dixon climbed from the car without assistance and was checked and released from infield care center.

"I'm fine," said Dixon. "It felt like something broke first. The Target team is looking at it, and we'll decide what to do for qualifying." After turning laps over 214 mph in practice, Dixon qualified at 212.980 mph.

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Sam Hornish's celebrity bowling tournament raised $125,000 for the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Dedicated to helping area children, Speedway Children's Charities has donated more than $4 million to children's organizations surrounding Texas Motor Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Jeff Simmons , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske