It's only Dario Franchitti's second pole of the season - the first being in the opening race of 2010 in Sao Paulo - but it couldn't come at a better time as it gives Dario a critical extra point in the championship and puts him just 11pts behind Will Power for the title. That would mean Dario can now clinch the championship if he wins the race and leads the most laps, regardless of where Will Power finishes.
Dario has his team mate Scott Dixon alongside him on the grid in what is Ganassi's best qualifying performance of the year. But Will Power lines up in third and has backup as well, in the form of Ryan Briscoe alongside him in fourth place, assuring a pretty frisky start to the evening's proceedings.
Their Penske team mate Helio Castroneves was not so fortunate, however, and ended up back in 10th place after lacking grip and only barely hanging on for his fast lap. Dan Wheldon set aside just-resolved legal action he had been taking against his Panther Racing team over unpaid wages to put his car an impressive fifth. He will line up on the grid alongside compatriot Justin Wilson who was notably fast in the Dreyer and Reinbold car to claim sixth.
Both practice and qualifying sessions took place in daylight, and since the race itself will start at 7pm local time on Saturday evening and run under lights, there will be a further practice session on Friday evening in night time conditions.
Full qualifying times and positions