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Mid-Ohio: Series qualifying report

Mid-Ohio: Series qualifying report

CASTRONEVES WINS PEAK MOTOR OIL POLE AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio, Saturday, July 19, 2008 - Helio Castroneves put himself in the perfect position to chip away at the 63-point deficit in the IndyCar Series championship point ...


LEXINGTON, Ohio, Saturday, July 19, 2008 - Helio Castroneves put himself in the perfect position to chip away at the 63-point deficit in the IndyCar Series championship point standings. The series all-time leader in poles added No. 25 to his career tally during PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance.

Castroneves advanced through the first two qualifying elimination rounds to the Firestone Fast Six for the 13th time in 14 IndyCar Series road/street races. In that session, he lapped the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit in 1 minute, 7.2480 seconds, 120.878 mph to earn his second consecutive pole of the season and his second consecutive pole at Mid-Ohio.

Castroneves' Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe qualified second with a best lap of 120.846 mph.

Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson will start on Row 2 followed by Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Dixon, the reigning race winner, holds the points lead over Castroneves.



* Helio Castroneves wins the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone. It is his second pole of the season and the 25th of his career. Castroneves also won the pole last weekend at Nashville. Castroneves started first at Motegi earlier this season based on points.

* This is Castroneves' second consecutive pole at Mid-Ohio.

* Ryan Briscoe qualified second, his third front row start of the season. He won the pole at Watkins Glen and started third at Indianapolis.

* This is the third consecutive pole for Team Penske.

* This is the 36th time teammates will start 1-2 and the third time this season. Earlier this season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon qualified 1-2 at Kansas and Indianapolis. Team Penske teammates have qualified 1-2 13 times, most recently at Kentucky in 2006 when Castroneves won the pole and Sam Hornish Jr. started second.

* Marco Andretti qualified third, his third top-three start of the season.

* Justin Wilson qualified fourth. He has qualified in the top four at all three road/street events this season.

* Tony Kanaan qualified fifth. He is the only driver to participate in all 14 Firestone Fast Six sessions.

* Scott Dixon qualified sixth, his 10th consecutive top-10 start but the first time out of the top five since qualifying 13th at St. Petersburg.

* Bruno Junqueira qualified ninth, tying his best start of the season (Richmond).



HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified first): "It feels great. The only one I was really worried about was Gil de Ferran (laughing). He won the pole position for ALMS, so if I didn't win the pole for the IndyCar Series, I knew he would give me a hard time. In all seriousness, it was a great battle between Ryan (Briscoe) and me. This morning we were talking about what a great chance we had to start on the front row with both cars, and we did it. It was a tough battle. Team Penske did a great job, and I'm extremely happy to part of this organization."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second): "It was good. It was hard-fought as usual. You have to work so hard to get into the (Firestone) Fast Six, and then you have to hang it out there. I thought we had a really good day. The car was handling well. We just weren't quite quick enough, but it was so close, and you can definitely see our Team Penske cars are very strong here."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Blockbuster, third): "It was the toughest couple of runs of my life physically. The steering was so heavy. I will definitely need a bit of rest before the race tomorrow. I gave it everything I had, and well that is all we had."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, fourth): "I'm really pleased. This morning, I was asking what the deal is if we don't make the top 12. It was a little tricky to drive so I couldn't get it all out. I thought I might be able to sneak up a little bit closer, but at the end of the day I'm pretty happy with where we are."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, fifth): "We had a lot of understeer in the car. We tried to improve, but obviously we didn't. We had a problem with the throttle cable. One of the wires came loose, and my idle was at 6,000 rpm. That doesn't make it easy to stop the car in the hard braking zones. We managed to put a lap together, and I'm pretty pleased. Despite the circumstances we made it to the Firestone Fast Six again, and we'll see what's going to happen tomorrow."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, seventh): "You're pushing, it's hard, it's a narrow line. What I'm personally disappointed with is myself. I ran a (1:07.4) in that previous session. There's no reason I shouldn't have been able to back that up, and I didn't. We should have been in the Firestone Fast Six. The Dreyer and Reinbold team did a great job. I'm happy with everything. I'm just disappointed we didn't put the Roll Coater Honda in the Firestone Fast Six."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, eighth): "When you miss making the Firestone Fast Six Shootout by so little, it is a little disappointing, but I am really happy with the KV Racing Technology team and the improvement we made. It shows a lot. Obviously, you want to come to a track and be fastest right away, but I think it shows that we can learn and are a capable team. We were 20th yesterday, and today we almost made it into the top six. I am just very happy with the team, the improvement we made and the performance we had today."


SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8:30-9 a.m. IndyCar Series warm-up
12:30 p.m. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio pre-race
1:30 p.m. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (85 laps/191.25 miles)


The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio Presented by Westfield Insurance July 20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with a doubleheader race weekend at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. The first Mid-Ohio 100 is scheduled for 5:25 p.m., on July 19. The second race will take plac eat 10:35 a.m., on July 20. Both races will air at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 24 on ESPN2 and live on

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