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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]
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The Team Penske crew of Juan Pablo Montoya simulate a pit stop during practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates second place (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit road (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves heads down the Long Pond Straightaway during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag as he races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with Helio Castroneves and Carlos Munoz on the podium after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)

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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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