In a day of mixed fortunes for Ganassi, Scott Dixon gave the squad something to cheer about by stealing pole position for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix by just four thousandths of a second from Penske's Will Power as the chequered flag came out in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
"I am really happy about starting up front because this is such a tough track and physically demanding on the drivers," said Dixon. "The track is bumpy and the best place to pass is on the straights, so staring up front is very important."
Power admitted that he could find nothing more to challenge Dixon with: "It's just a full-on attack. The car was loose in the last segment, the Fast Six, but man, yeah it was just absolute. I don't think there's anywhere you push so hard because you just keep going faster the harder you push, and they kept saying 'P2, P2!'"
Starting on the front row gives Power the opportunity to wrest the lead from Dixon at the first corner, but the Aussie insisted he was going to play smart come the green flag: "You've just got to be smart, see how things play out," said Power. "I just race the way I race, which is to win, so that means not trying to do anything stupid."
Dixon's best time was 1:10.316s (105.978mph) on the 2.07-mile, 14-turn street course in the final Firestone Fast Six round of qualifying that presented the striking sight of the drivers coming from six different teams: as well as Ganassi and Penske, there were also representatives from Bryan Herta Autosport, Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports, KV Racing Technology and Andretti Autosport filling out the front three rows.
"Today right away from the get-go this morning the car was a bit better and we made some improvements, and we got it spot-on for qualifying. For our first street course back with Honda, we're very pleased," said Tagliani, whose BHA team only severed its relationship with Lotus just prior to the Indy 500. "We're very, very pleased with the boys and all their dedication over the weeks. For us just to be in the Fast Six on our first street course is quite good because there's more to come with our car."
"The car is running really well, I enjoy driving it, and we made it suit my driving style straight away," said Pagenaud, who added that his impressive form right from the start of his rookie season in IndyCar had "been a nice surprise to me as well and the team."
"Qualifying went pretty good, I'm pretty pleased with the fifth position, especially after some discrepancies we had yesterday in setting up the car," beamed EJ Viso. "Just by starting in the first three rows in a race like this one, when it's difficult to overtake, it's a very good thing."
That mix of different teams at the top meant that several big names had fallen by the wayside earlier on, with none bigger than newly crowned Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti who failed to progress from his round 1 group and will ow face the prospect of fighting his way through the field from a depressing 15th place on the starting grid.