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Dixon and Power up front as Dario struggles

Scott Dixon and Will Power will start the last Indy Japan race at Motegi side-by-side on the front row, but championship leader Dario Franchitti starts back in ninth for Sunday's green flag.
Ganassi's Scott Dixon was celebrating his second pole position of the season after a lap of 1:38.3918s proved uncatchable even for this year's master of the road courses, Penske's Will Power, who had to settle for second place.

"It feels very special to be on the pole for the last race here at Motegi," said Dixon, who started from pole here in 2009 on the speedway circuit but who now becomes the only IndyCar driver in history able to say he's started from pole on the road course as well.

Dixon was delighted with pole, but said that he feared he was going to be beaten in the final seconds of the pole shootout after he found his own attempts to improve on his time were thwarted. "I was up on my quick lap from Q1 by two or three tenths but then I kept losing it in the last section here in turns 12, 13 and 14," he explained. "It was a bit frustrating but we just got it. I think it was by a few hundredths or a few thousandths of a second. We're on the pole and that's what counts!"

Will Power was also frustrated not to have been able to find those final few hundredths of the a second that would have put him on pole for Sunday afternoon's race: "I'm really kind of disappointed that we weren't able to put that last lap together and make a good run for pole. I didn't do what I needed to do in the last few turns but it's still a good result," he said. "I'm sure Scott was the same. We're all pushing for the quickest lap and at the end it was really close so front row is pretty good."

Given that the Saturday qualifying sessions hadn't gone particularly well, Power agreed that a front row start was actually a good recovery. "We were struggling for sure in the second practice today but we were able to get back on track and to wind up qualifying second is great."

And Power is particularly pleased to have such a wide margin over his championship rival Dario Franchitti. "Dario starting ninth is good for us, although a lot can happen in a race," pointed out Power, who will be starting from the front row for the ninth time in 2011. "We always try to put ourselves in the position to stay out of trouble and give us the best chance of winning.

The big surprise of round 2 had undoubtedly been the failure of Dario Franchitti to get through to the final six pole shootout. Although initially going top of the times during the ten-minute period, Franchitti was unable to then improve sufficiently to keep up with the rest of the field as times tumbled in the final minutes, and he will start from a disappointing ninth place with potentially huge significance to the championship battle between himself and Power.

"I just didn't put a lap together to make the Fast Six. That's about it," said a frustrated Franchitti. "Couldn't put a lap together and left it until the last one and made a mistake in turn 3, then Jakes went off in turn 9 in front of me, covering the track in dirt. It was a combination of those two things we missed the tenth and a half we were needing."

With Ryan Briscoe starting on the second row and Helio Castroneves on the third, Power also has a lot of friendly faces gathered close to him - and moreover as a safety buffer between him and Franchitti. The last time the Penske crew had this sort of edge was at Sonoma, when the three drivers flew in formation to propel Power to the win and give him the biggest points boost over Dario that they possibly could.




Related Pictures

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Scott Dixon takes the cheque for pole position at Motegi. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power on track during qualifying for the final Indy Japan at Motegi. [Photo credit: Daniel Incandela for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon celebrates with the team in pit lane after taking pole position for the final Indy Japan at Motegi. [Photo credit: Chris Jones 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)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/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 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)

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Alex - Unregistered

September 17, 2011 11:28 AM

I hope Dale Coyne drivers will be in top10 tomorrow. James Jakes makes a good progress with his 8th position. Joao de Oliveira had a perfect quali as well. He knows the Motegi circuit well and it was a good decision to substitute Saavedra to the Brazilian.



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