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."