Dario Franchitti bounced back from the evident frustration of the blind draw at Texas costing him crucial points in the second Firestone Twin 275 race, by claiming a convincing pole at the Milwaukee Mile.
Franchitti - a previous winner at Milwaukee - was the only driver to top the 170mph average speed for this two qualifying laps, and was over 0.2s faster than Penske's Helio Castroneves who will start alongside him on the front row on Sunday afternoon after just edging out Franchitti's Ganassi team mate Scott Dixon, who will start from third place.
"It was a combination of the car and the setup was really close to being perfect and I just hung on to it," said Franchitti. "I am glad to be back at the Milwaukee Mile and this is a great place to start from for tomorrow's race. It is going to be a tough day because it is like a one-lane track out there with the marbles on side and the black asphalt lane. I think the double-file restarts will work well here at the Milwaukee Mile and the fans are in for a hell of a show."
Franchitti's main title rival, Will Power, was unable to recapture the sort of pace that saw him top Friday's practice timesheets and instead slumped to a season-low qualifying position of 17th after a scare on his run.
"We were flat through turns 1 and 2, but we had a big moment there in turn 3 when we got loose that cost us. It's certainly not where wanted to start the race, but we know we have a good race car and we'll put our heads down and try to make up ground tomorrow."
The KV Racing Technology team demonstrated that their surprise form in the Saturday afternoon practice session was no flash in the pan by putting Tony Kanaan into fourth place, just ahead of an all-KV third row consisting of Takuma Sato and EJ Viso.
“It was a really great effort today by the boys and my KVRT teammates," said Kanaan. "I owe a 'thank you' to Viso and Sato because we mixed our setups together for quals and I think it paid well for all of us."
It was another bruising day at the race track for HVM's Simona de Silvestro, who spun and made rear-end contact with the SAFER barrier at turn 4 on her warm-up lap and ended up rebounding into a second rear-end impact this time with the inside retaining wall.
After such a bone-crunching impact, de Silvestro had to be carefully extricated from the car by the safety crew and was subsequently taken to Froedert Medical Center for further examination, but she was described as being awake and alert after the wreck and complaining of stiffness and feeling sore. She was quickly released from hospital, and the back-up car is available for her to use, but it's uncertain whether she will make the start for the race on Sunday as a result.
Full qualification times and positions