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Dixon takes a dominant pole position

Scott Dixon looked in charge of qualifying throughout all three rounds of the Saturday afternoon session, while the usual champion of road courses - Will Power - struggled for grip.
Ganassi's Scott Dixon proved unbeatable in qualifying and was delighted to finally claim a pole position in 2011.

"I'm happy for Team Target," he said as he claimed his first pole position since Motegi 2009, 29 races ago. "They've worked hard all season and we haven't had the luck that we've needed. Dario has been stealing all the fame here. It's nice to get a pole."

Dixon had topped every one of the three rounds during the afternoon and was the only driver to post a sub-68s lap time with 1:07.837 in the Round 2 Top 12 shootout.

Penske's Ryan Briscoe found a final surge in form to displace Dixon's team mate, championship leader Dario Franchitti from the front row of the grid for Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

"It was a very hard-fought battle out there," acknowledged Briscoe. "This is a very physical track and it takes its toll on you. The track kept improving during qualifying and you really needed to be out there to take advantage of it."

Franchitti will start from third place alongside Will Power, and it will be interesting to see if the two really have settled their score from Toronto when Franchitti tipped Power into a costly spin mid-race and Power engaged in a strong war of words on "princess" Dario afterwards.

Power - normally untouchable on street and road circuits this year - was clearly not enjoying the Mid-Ohio track and was struggling for grip, the rear end threatening to get away from him as he was reduced to sawing at the wheel to stop the car from going off.

"We gave it everything we had, but just didn't quite have the car for pole today," confirmed Power. "I feel pretty good about it, though. What we have to do is be smart tomorrow, stay out of trouble and it should be a good day."

He was not alone, as the circuit proved almost as slippery as a dirt track at times for many of the drivers. Despite the difficulties, and even as the thunderstorms in the area threatened to close in and make the track even more treacherous, the qualifying process proceeded without incident or interruption and even the rain stayed away just long enough to conclude the Firestone Fast Six.

While Power and Briscoe upheld Penske's honours, it was a gloomy day for their other team mate Helio Castroneves who failed to progress from Round 1. He was visibly furious with how it had gone.




Related Pictures

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Scott Dixon takes pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after qualifying - August 2011. [Photo credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud takes over Justin Wilson`s Dreyer & Reinbold car at the last minute at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - August 2011. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Jakes (front) and Sebastian Saavedra at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during qualifying - August 2011. [Photo credit: Dan Helrigel for IndyCar Media]
Another new-look livery for Dario Franchitti at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - August 2011. [Photo credit: Dan Helrigel for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon on track at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during qualifying - August 2011. [Photo credit: Dan Helrigel for IndyCar Media]
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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