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Franchitti grabs pole for Iowa night race

Dario Franchitti out-raced Marco Andretti in their qualifying heat at Iowa Speedway on Friday night to claim pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
"That was a nice surprise there," said Dario Franchitti after claiming pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, after managing to pass Marco Andretti in the third and final qualifying heat at Iowa Speedway on Friday evening.

It is the second week running that Franchitti will start from pole position, afetr he also claimed the top spot in more traditional speed trial qualifying last weekend at Milwaukee, only to crash out with suspension failure late in the race.

Marco went on to lose a further spot to Helio Castroneves, which means that it's the Penske driver who will start alongside Franchitti on the front row while Andretti will start alongside his team mate James Hinchliffe on the second row, after Hinch had the fiercest battle of the night to hold off Ryan Briscoe for fourth place - which culminated in contact between the two.

Graham Rahal beat Josef Newgarden in heat 1 and Tony Kanaan bested Alex Tagliani in heat 2, but both Rahal and Tagliani will serve ten-place starting grid penalties for engine penalties leaving Tagliani starting from ninth and Newgarden from tenth instead.

Heat 1

In the first heat, Graham Rahal led the field of eight to the green flag, just holding off a bold and risky move from Josef Newgarden into the first corner that nearly ended in disaster. He backed off and managed to keep his second position from EJ Viso.

After that, the heat settled into a single file affair maintaining the same running order as they started. Rahal pulled off into a big 3s lead despite running what looked to be an unusual line around the 0.875-mile asphalt tri-oval. Ed Carpenter and Takuma Sato fell off the pace from the start and never featured in the battle for the higher grid positions.

Ultimately the drivers all seemed content to put safety first, with only JR Hildebrand pressing EJ Viso successfully for third position in the closing laps. Otherwise, the remaining drivers settled for the positions in which they'd started rather than risk damaging their race cars, and the race concluded with no incidents and no further changes in positions after 9:54s.

Heat 2

Rubens Barrichello started the second heat from pole position with Alex Tagliani alongside him, while Tony Kanaan got the jump on Justin Wilson in a heat already notably more combative and closely-packed than the first outing half an hour previously.

Five laps in and Barrichello lost the lead to Tagliani, and also got passed on the high-side by Tony Kanaan next time around; Barrichello was able to maintain third and stayed in front of Wilson. As the race entered its final third, Kanaan lined up a successful pass on Tagliani for the lead and duly took the position, pulling out a comfortable lead by the time the chequered flag came out. Tagliani had little incentive to fight back, given that Kanaan would have a ten-place starting grid penalty to serve.




Related Pictures

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Dario Franchitti #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Dario Franchitti at Motegi. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud crosses the line at Fontana during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud preps on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud on the podium after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal shows off the his new helmet prior to the morning warmup for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud sits on pit lane prior to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal gets strapped into his machine before the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, is congratulated by teammate Helio Castroneves after capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014 with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Tony Kanaan on the podium after the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Sunday August 17 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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