There were diverse fortunes for the two Team Penske drivers just days after Helio Castroneves' emotional Indianapolis 500 win, with the Brazilian failing to qualify at Milwaukee while team-mate Ryan Briscoe claimed pole position.

The Australian returned to the scene of his turnaround win in 2008 to post the fastest four-lap time and deny qualifying surprise Graham Rahal another pole position, while Castroneves crashed during the crucial session and failed to post a time, technically non-qualifying but 'earning' 20th spot in the field for Sunday's ABC Supply Co/AJ Foyt 225.

Briscoe recorded a four-lap qualifying time of 1min 26.7966secs, averaging 168.394mph to earn his fifth career pole, but only his first since the 2008 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway.

"I knew when I was in front of Rahal, it was going to be good - he seems to get around this place pretty good and was on the front row last year," Briscoe commented, "The car was good, but I was a bit worried about my team-mate and the Target boys - thankfully the time held up.

"We won from eleventh last year, so hopefully starting on the front row can get me away from the chaos that always happens the first couple of laps."

The Australian, who went some way to saving his season - and Penske seat - with victory in Milwaukee a year ago, admitted that, despite Castroneves' qualifying nightmare, he would not be ruling the Brazilian out as a potential threat on race day.

"He always seems to win the races when they put him in the back, so I'll be looking for him in my mirrors, for sure," Briscoe joked.

Castroneves, who last Sunday became the ninth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, will start from the very back after his #3 car made contact with the SAFER Barrier in turn two on his first qualifying lap. However, his run to victory from 28th in the field at Chicagoland last season will convince everyone to follow Briscoe's cautious approach to the Brazilian's chances.

"I was just going for it," Castroneves admitted, "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, so it's a shame."

Rahal, meanwhile, will start second at Milwaukee for the second consecutive season after a qualifying effort of 168.117mph. His front row effort adds to pole positions from both St Petersburg and Kansas this season.

"The McDonald's car felt pretty good, but I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap, and our fourth lap time was three-tenths slower than the previous one," the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver reported, "If that hadn't happened, I think we would have had pole.

"We sat on pole so many times this year that we are a little bit spoiled but, at the end of the day, the McDonald's boys are doing a great job. We pretty much we showed up today exactly how we ended last year, because we are pretty competitive."

Tony Kanaan, still nursing bruising around his ribs and legs from the single-car incident on lap 98 at Indianapolis, will start third, alongside 2008 series champion Scott Dixon. The Brazilian is one of three former Milwaukee race winners in the field, alongside Briscoe and Dario Franchitti, but is the only two-time winner present.

"I'm as good as I can be, so I can't complain," he said of his injuries, "I'm here walking instead of limping but, for sure, it's going to be a tough weekend for me. I have to thank the whole AGR team, the safety crews, and my personal trainer Ryan [Harber] for, not only getting me back together, but also rebuilding the car in time. While I'm not 100 per cent back together, I'm here and very thankful for that."

Mario Moraes, who crashed out on lap one at Indy, and Hideki Mutoh will share row three, while Danica Patrick and Franchitti will start from row four, ahead of another Brickyard victim, Raphael Matos, who shares row five with Luczo Dragon predecessor Tomas Scheckter, who placed the second Dreyer & Reinbold entry inside the top ten, one spot ahead of rookie team-mate Mike Conway.

"Our goal was top ten, and we qualified ninth, so we're happy," Matos reported, "We have never tested here and have very little track time, but the engineers did a great job figuring out a few things to improve the Marines Luczo Dragon car. I think we have a little bit more to find and we'll keep chipping away, but I believe we will have a good car tomorrow."

"It was good considering that we missed out on a session and that we only really had 45 minutes of running," Scheckter countered, "The guys did a great job, and to be in the top ten with that amount of time, I'm really happy with it. We think we have improved the car, as well, so I'm looking forward to the race."

Indy 500 runner-up Dan Wheldon will again start back in the pack, qualifying a lowly 14th for Panther, while Paul Tracy's debut with the AJ Foyt Racing operation yielded only 16th spot, sandwiched between Justin Wilson and EJ Viso.

Team 3G's Stanton Barrett should have started ahead of Castroneves, but never even got the chance to out-qualifying the Indy winner, his team having decided not to repair the #98 car when it was damaged in an incident during the first practice session. The team will return to Indianapolis to repair the car and prepare for the 6 June Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.

"We are going back to the shop now," co-owner Greg Beck confirmed, "Unfortunately, the car was damaged just enough that we couldn't really finish repairing it here. We are going to get ready for Texas and get ready for the rest of the season and just keep plugging away at it. It is tough not to race here. We were really looking forward to it, but we will move on to Texas."


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