IRL: Watkins Glen: Toyota qualifying report

CASTRONEVES ON POLE AS TOYOTA TAKES TOP FOUR SPOTS IN WATKINS GLEN QUALIFYING Helio Castroneves edged fellow Toyota driver Giorgio Pantano by just two one-hundredths of a second as Toyota-powered cars swept the top-four positions in qualifying...


Helio Castroneves edged fellow Toyota driver Giorgio Pantano by just two one-hundredths of a second as Toyota-powered cars swept the top-four positions in qualifying for Sunday's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage at Watkins Glen International. Patrick Carpentier and Scott Dixon earned the third and fourth spots on the grid for Toyota.

- Today's front row sweep is the fifth of the season for Toyota after recording similar feats at Richmond, Milwaukee, Pikes Peak and Sonoma.

- Helio Castroneves' pole position is the sixth for Toyota this season and the manufacturer's 22nd in IndyCar Series competition in 48 events.

- The pole is the second of the season for Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske Toyota) and the 11th of his IndyCar Series career -- the first on a road course, although he had earned five pole positions on road courses in CART competition.

- The second-place is the best qualifying effort for Giorgio Pantano (Target Toyota) in IndyCar Series competition coming in just his second race. The 26-year-old Italian has previously raced only on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., where he qualified 13th and finished 14th. He did run in the top 10 during much of the Sonoma race before being involved in a late-race incident that ended his day prematurely.

- Target Chip Ganassi Racing was the only team to qualify more than one car in the top-five today with Giorgio Pantano in second and Scott Dixon in fourth. Dixon registered the top overall time in single-car qualifying today.

- Patrick Carpentier (Red Bull Toyota) earned his best IndyCar qualifying mark to date with a third today. Carpentier appeared to be on his way to his first front-row start until Pantano slipped past him in the last minute of qualifying.

- Helio Castroneves has now qualified in the Firestone Fast Six at all three road course events this season. Castroneves joins Tony Kanaan as the only two drivers in the series to register that feat. The two-time Indy 500 winner qualified second at each of the first two road course events.


HELIO CASTRONEVES, #3 Marlboro Team Penske Toyota: "When you go for the single lap qualifying, you want to be sure you put it in the top six. I was taking it easy, to make sure we were in the top six. But when you get to the top six, man, you're going for it. You're not messing around. When I got my pole lap, the track was getting better, and I was sure one of those guys was going to beat me. When I heard (Giorgio) Pantano was on the course for one last run, I was hoping he ate a lot of macaroni today. We worked really hard, and we got what we wanted today."

GIORGIO PANTANO, #10 Target Toyota: "We knew we had quite a good car on the long runs. Our goal was to be in the top six for the ten-minute qualifying, and we did that. We're starting second. The important thing is to start on the front row. We did the job, and now tomorrow is the hard race. We have a very good car."

PATRICK CARPENTIER, #83 Red Bull Cheever Toyota: "I went out there and wasn't nervous at all. We had nothing to lose coming in. We were happy with sixth, so we just went for it. We knew our car was better in the long run, so it was a really fun ride. I have never done a lap like that in my life. For us, it was by far the fastest time we've accomplished here by more than a second and a half. During my top lap, I missed the apex of the last turn by about 10 feet, so I left a little bit out there. Other than that, I got everything I could out of the car. The team and Toyota did a great job giving me a great car for this weekend. Starting in the top three is fantastic. The race is going to be very competitive, but when you're starting up front, it's a whole different game. I'm definitely looking forward to it."

SCOTT DIXON, #9 Target Toyota/Firestone: "It was alright. Just from the get-go, we decided to do one long run with the car. We didn't really think we could make any time up after the tires had one (heat) cycle in them. We weren't as good as we'd have liked. We had a lot of understeer and the more I pushed on it, to try and get more time, the more I was waiting for the front end to hook up. I think it's pretty good for the race. Nobody has done any really long runs, so we should be all right. It was a good day for the team with two in the top four, which is nice for a change. The car seems strong. The cars for the first six or seven laps seemed to get quicker and quicker. Hopefully we'll have a consistent car."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing