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Franchitti takes Texas pole.

Dario Franchitti earned his first PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season - and the seventh of his IndyCar career - as the series' two leading teams again showed their might in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway.

Having seen Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick take testing honours on Thursday night, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske put the interlopers firmly in their place as Franchitti headed Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves on the qualifying timesheets. The Scot posted a four-lap average of 214.513mph on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval as the top four drivers in the championship recorded runs in the same bracket.

It is Franchitti's second pole at Texas Motor Speedway, having taken his first IndyCar Series pole there in 2004, but his first in the competition since the finale of his title-winning campaign at Chicagoland Speedway in Sept. 2007.

"To win the pole at Texas says a lot about the Target guys and the job they do building the car," Franchitti admitted, "The regulations are so tight now that it's all about the details. The cars are so similar, so it's all about how the guys build the car and the changes they make. The team makes a great car and it's my job in qualifying is not to screw it up. If the car is fast enough, you're looking good. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. It's a tough, long and demanding race."

Briscoe will start alongside Franchitti in the Bombardier Learjet 550k after a four-lap average of 214.413mph, the Australian recording his best start at Texas but his third straight front row appearance in the 2009 campaign.

"It was a pretty good run, but we just weren't quick enough over four laps and were a tenth off," the Penske driver commented, "We always treat qualifying as the first race of the weekend, so it's always good to go for the pole. It's a long race and I believe we'll have a strong race car, which is the most important thing. The night race is always spectacular, and I've had some good results here, so I always look forward to coming back."

Points leader and defending race winner Dixon took third, remarkably his best qualifying result of the season, bettering fourth at both Kansas and Milwaukee, while Castroneves completes row two after bouncing back from the error that left him at the back of the pack in Milwaukee a week ago.

"I put the pedal to the metal, but it was just one of those days where there was not much happening," the Brazilian sighed, "It's too bad because we have a quick car, and we didn't qualify as fast as I thought we would. But we'll move on to tomorrow and the important thing is that it's a long race, and we have a really good car. The fastest car is not always the winner at Texas - I've won from the pole, and I've won from third place.

"Overall, I'm happy to be starting in the second row considering last week's qualifying, but tomorrow night will be a challenge because a lot of people will be close to one another on the track. Hopefully, everyone will be smart at the beginning and it will be a good clean race."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dario Franchitti - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IRL/Payne]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi, [Credit: Max Chilton PR]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates capturing the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Friday March 11. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Friday March 11. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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Don - Unregistered

June 06, 2009 2:21 PM

Agreed JJ. A nice effort by Bobby D who has been struggling immensely on ovals. I prefer watching the road and street course races, but Texas is good, fast fun.



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