IRL: Texas: Dario Franchitti qualifying report

FT. WORTH, Texas (June 10, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti made Thursday a night of "firsts" at Texas Motor Speedway as he captured his first Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series pole in his first series appearance at Texas Motor ...

FT. WORTH, Texas (June 10, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti made Thursday a night of "firsts" at Texas Motor Speedway as he captured his first Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series pole in his first series appearance at Texas Motor Speedway while turning the first night-time laps of his professional racing career.

Franchitti, who won 11 poles in a six-year CART career, turned a lap of 209.609 miles per hour in the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone to grab the top spot on the grid for Saturday night's running of the Bombardier 500. Franchitti entered the Thursday night qualifying session with the fastest practice speed and backed it up during his two-lap qualifying effort, which marked his first laps ever run under the lights. He was the only driver to break the 209-mile per hour threshold.

Honda-powered entries swept the top-five positions in qualifying, led by Franchitti and Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice, who qualified at 208.755 miles per hour. Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing (AGR) teammate, Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, was third (208.511) and was followed by Kosuke Matsuura (208.360) and AGR driver Bryan Herta, who qualified fifth (208.001) in the XM Satellite Radio entry.

Practice for Saturday's 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile high-banked circuit continues tomorrow with two sessions. Round 5 of the IndyCar Series is set to begin at 8 p.m. (EDT) Saturday and airs live on ESPN.

Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"It's very exciting to get my first pole in the IndyCar Series, especially after the race we had at Indianapolis. My ArcaEx crew gave me a great car and it has been great since we unloaded off the transporter. It is nice to give Honda another pole position. My teammates are great; they're my boys -- what can I tell you? We work very well together and I have to thank them for the information they gave me before my run. This is the first time I've run in the dark and I have to say it is interesting, but I'm enjoying it."

Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Green Racing:

"This is big. I'm so happy for Dario and the whole ArcaEx team. They've been having a tough go of it and this is good for them. The whole Andretti Green team did a good job tonight and our Honda engines were really strong. I think we're set for a good race."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura