Team Penske will bookend the field at Milwaukee as Ryan Briscoe will start form the pole and Helio Castroneves will start last. Briscoe earned his fifth career pole and his first since the 2008 season finale at Chicagoland after recording a...
Team Penske will bookend the field at Milwaukee as Ryan Briscoe will start form the pole and Helio Castroneves will start last. Briscoe earned his fifth career pole and his first since the 2008 season finale at Chicagoland after recording a four-lap qualifying run at an average speed of 168.394 mph.
Seventh in the qualifying order, Briscoe had to wait to see if anyone would knock him from the pole. "I was worried about my teammate and the Target guys but thankfully the time held up," he said.
"We won from 11th last year last year, so hopefully starting on the front row can get me away from the chaos that happens the first couple of laps."
Castroneves is coming off a perfect month at Indianapolis, winning the pitstop competition, the pole and the Indy 500. His luck changed this afternoon when he hit the Turn Two wall on his first of four qualifying laps. Without a qualifying time, Castroneves will start 20th.
"I was just going for it," said Castroneves, the 2009 Indianapolis 500 winner. "Sometimes you've just got to try, and the car snapped a little bit. I thought I saved it, but then it just slid and brushed the wall. Unfortunately, that was the end of qualifying."
Never one to be deterred by setbacks, Castroneves won the 2008 season finale at Chicagoland after starting 28th. Last month at Kansas, he received a penalty during qualifying and started 21st. He drove to the front and finished second.
"We're going to try to have good pit stops and score good points, because now we have a great chance in the championship and we can't throw that away," Castroneves said. "Hopefully we're going to have a good day tomorrow."
Graham Rahal, who has started from the pole at St. Petersburg and Kansas this season, will start second. Rahal said he would have started from the pole if not for a moment during his last lap when he had to "save" the car. Rahal's last lap was 0.2897 of a second slower than his fastest.
"I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap, and our fourth lap time was three-tenths of a second slower than the previous one." said Rahal. "We sat on pole so many times this year that we are a little bit spoiled."
Tony Kanaan took a physical beating at Indianapolis one week ago when a part broke, sending his car careening into the wall at 195 mph. A bruised, and surely sore, Tony Kanaan put the pain aside and drove his machine to a third place starting position for Sunday's race. Afterwards, Kanaan thanked his personal trainer for helping make this weekend's race. "While I'm not 100 percent back together, I'm here and very thankful for that."
Kanaan was quick right off the transporter this morning and he expects to be competitive in the race. "Hopefully, we can get this car into victory circle at the end of the race," he said.
Scott Dixon qualified fourth after improving throughout the day. "We went out on stickers and tried to do our qualifying sim straight out of the box, and the car was not really very good."
In practice, Dixon's best lap was at 166.519 mph in the second session. In qualifying, Dixon averaged 167.089 mph over four laps. After making changes for qualifying, Dixon said his time was only "a tenth of a second off the pole. I'm pretty confident that we can improve three spots" during the race.
Mario Moraes continued to show speed by qualifying fifth. Moraes' previous best was a sixth starting position at Kansas. "I haven't got that much experience on short ovals, but after our performance today I am confident that we have a good car for the race."
The two Andretti Green Racing teammates, Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick, qualified sixth and seventh, respectively. Patrick was a bit disappointed with her starting position, thinking she had a top-five car.
Dario Franchitti qualified eighth followed by Raphael Matos and Tomas Scheckter in his first ride with Dreyer and Reinbold.
Franchitti described his first two qualifying laps as "terrible." The third and fourth were better, "but we can get it done from here."