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Castroneves takes Indy pole

Helio Castroneves takes pole at Indianapolis
Helio Castroneves saved his best for last during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500.

Castroneves, the first of nine drivers to run during the final 90 minutes of qualifying as part of new look format for 2010, recorded a four-lap average speed of 227.970 mph to win top spot on the grid.

He also secured 15 championship points and $175,000 as a result.

Sitting second to FAZZT Race Team's Alex Tagliani with 90 minutes left in the first segment of Pole Day qualifying, Castroneves and Team Penske withdrew the qualified time of the #3 Team Penske car for a shot at the top spot. With a four-lap average of 226.774 mph, he took the top position.

The designation gave Castroneves the first choice in the required qualifying run in segment two of the new format.

This time, he left spectators and the eight other challengers shaking their heads with a four-lap average of 227.970 mph -- more than 3 mph faster than his pole-winning speed last year. The run included a lap of 228.213 mph -- the fastest of the month.

But as the format was designed, drama ensued as 18 total attempts were made to steal Castroneves' thunder and the $175,000 payday to the pole winner. He wore a nervous smile as Team Penske team-mate Will Power posted a four-lap average of 227.578 mph and others came close.

However, it wasn't close enough to prevent Castroneves making it back-to-back poles at Indianapolis.

"Sitting in that car for an hour in half was not easy at all, especially with everyone getting closer and closer,” he said. “I was like, 'Are we going or not?' because I can't handle that much pressure.

“I'm very proud of my team; they did a great job today."

Power and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti , the 2007 race winner, also will start on the front row. Ryan Briscoe, Tagliani and Scott Dixon, the 2008 winner, will share row two while Graham Rahal, Ed Carpenter and Hideki Mutoh will be on the third row.

In all, 24 drivers qualified for the May 30 race. The remaining nine spots in the field will be filled during Bump Day today, with Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy and Takuma Sato amongst those yet to qualify.



Related Pictures

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Helio Castroneves [Pic credt: Indy Racing League]
Helio Castroneves crosses the start/finish line during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves affixes the Verizon P1 Award emblem as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates on pit lane following his pole-winning effort for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves set up for Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power chats with his race engineer in the Team Penske pit stand following practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates his second place in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at The Milwaukee Mile. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads the field down the frontstretch during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a fourth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti go side-by-side during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates capturing the pole position during qualifying Friday, June 26, 2015, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates capturing the pole position during qualifying Friday, June 26, 2015, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Friday, June 26, 2015, capturing the pole position for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarden, and Sebastien Bourdais mix it up on the frontstretch during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Luca Filippi, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden celebrate on the podium after the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies third-fastest Saturday, June 13, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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Don - Unregistered

May 24, 2010 12:37 AM

Qualifying was interesting, but Bump Day was fantastic theater! Tracy's withdrawal of his previous qualifying run was a complete disaster. Glad to see Sato finally make it in. I wonder if he can keep the car in one piece and finish the race next Sunday. If I were a betting man, I'd say he ends up in the wall before the race ends.



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