Warm weather in California on Sunday could prove to be the key to Scott Dixon pushing his Panoz G Force chassis one step closer to the IRL IndyCar Championship.

Dixon was the quickest of seven Panoz G Force qualifiers for this weekend at Fontana, recording a speed of 226.219mph to be third fastest on Saturday.

His second place at Chicago in the last race of the title chase has now put him back in title contention with only two races remaining

"Our car has performed very well in warmer conditions and I think that should work out very well for Scott tomorrow [Sunday]," Panoz G Force, director of sales, John Biddlecombe said. "The competition is very close and I think this will be another race which goes right down the wire."

Temperatures are predicted in excess of 93 degrees at Fontana Sunday, hopefully aiding Dixon in his attempt to close the 12 points gap to Helio Castroneves.

"Our qualifying run was generally pretty good. I think we've geared our downforce level more for the race," Dixon said. "We'll just see how it plays out. We concentrated on the race. We need to win the race, not qualifying."

Dixon's team-mate Tomas Scheckter qualified seventh fastest while Mo Nunn Racing's Felipe Giaffone was eighth in his second race back from injury.

"All things considered, I think it was a pretty solid effort for qualifying today," Giaffone said. "I'm confident we'll be in good shape for the race. It's going to be really hot. If the race goes like all the other we've had on the big tracks, lately, it'll come down to the very last lap and there will be a handful of cars with a chance to win. Hopefully, one of them will be ours."

Giaffone's team-mate, Tora Takagi headed a run of the American-made Panoz G Force chassis just outside the top ten in eleventh, followed by Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran in 12th and Greg Ray in 13th.

A.J. Foyt IV completed the Panoz G Force roster in 20th.

"I think we had a good car for qualifying, but then the track turned out to be just a little more slippery than I thought it would be," Takagi said. "For the race, we should be okay. I love these big tracks and I really look forward to going 400 miles Sunday."

 

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