Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position for Saturday night's 200 lap race at Chicagoland Speedway with his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves starting alongside. This is the team's third 1-2 start this season. Series points leader ...
Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole position for Saturday night's 200 lap race at Chicagoland Speedway with his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves starting alongside. This is the team's third 1-2 start this season.
Series points leader Briscoe earned one point for the pole position, his fourth of this year, and he now leads Dario Franchitti by 5 points with three races remaining.
"It's important for the point. As far as what's going to happen in the race, it doesn't matter where you start," Briscoe said.
Briscoe was quick to point out that Castroneves won last year's race at Chicagoland after starting last.
Castroneves' qualifying run averaged 215.202 mph and was a full tenth of a second faster than Dario Franchitti, who will start third. At that point Castroneves was the only driver to qualify over 215 mph.
Briscoe, who was towards the back of the qualifying line, edged his teammate by 0.0763 of a second.
"It's pretty close between the two Team Penske cars," said Castroneves. "I'm happy to be on the front row, and we'll do everything we can to get Ryan more points for the championship."
Castroneves is currently fourth in points, 127 behind Briscoe. While still mathematically in the hunt for the championship, the odds are not in Castroneves' favor, especially with Target Ganassi drivers Franchitti and Dixon both within 21 of the leader.
Franchitti said qualifying was pretty uneventful. "This qualifying format has more to do with what the engineers do and the way the cars are going," he said. "The balance of the car was very good. I was very happy with that, but the car as a whole wasn't fast enough."
Tony Kanaan was another driver who was happy with his car but needed more speed. Kanaan, who will start fourth, was eighth fastest in the first practice session and the final warm-up.
Both Newman Haas Lanigan Racing entries will start in the top ten. Graham Rahal qualified fifth and Oriol Servia ninth. "The car felt good all day," said Rahal. I just kind of expected more in qualifying. I thought we would get a high 214 (mph) or low 215 but I can't complain since were fifth.
Rahal's qualifying average for four laps was 214.556 mph. In practice, when the drivers are able to draft behind other cars, Rahal's best lap from the first session averaged 216.139 mph.
Servia said his car was amazing. "It's really comfortable for me and has good speed," he added.
Scott Dixon will start sixth with Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes filling the fourth row.
"My qualifying run wasn't too bad," said Dixon. "As Dario said there's not much going on in qualifying. You just follow the white line and hold the pedal flat and see what you come up with. I think we're all right but we're not great."
Danica Patrick rounded out the top ten. She summed up the action at Chicagoland Speedway by saying, "once the race starts tomorrow night anything can happen and it's really anyone's game."