For over an hour, Ryan Briscoe was the pole sitter for tomorrow's Indy 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway.
But after post-qualifying scrutineering ended, he was thrown to the back of the grid and Danica Patrick captured her third IndyCar career pole position.
Briscoe looked set to grab his second consecutive pole, having posted a lap of 217.133mph in today's qualifying on the 1.5-mile Chicago oval. But technical infraction on his car meant he will start from the back of the 23-car grid, along with his teammates Jaques Lazier and Scott Dixon, who were also disqualified.
Patrick, who posted the second fastest lap of the session with 215.970, was elevated to pole, with teammate Buddy Rice sharing the front row with her.
"We weren't at the top of the charts in practice," the female rookie said. "We were focusing very much on qualifying, just being alone and not trying to take ourselves to the front with a bunch of tows. We just tried to play it right and smart.
"You have to focus on several things for Chicagoland. You have to make sure the car is fast in a straight line. That means freeing up the car as much as possible. And you have to be smooth."
Tomas Scheckter will join Sam Hornish Jr. on the second row. IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon and his teammate Bryan Herta will start from the third row.
"I'm happy with our starting position and I think we should be in good shape," Hornish said. "We decided to change the gears during both practice sessions, so we didn't have as much track time as we would've liked. In spite of this we still ended up with a solid qualifying result."
Pos Driver Make-Engine Speed
1. Danica Patrick Panoz-Honda 215.970
2. Buddy Rice Panoz-Honda 215.799
3. Tomas Scheckter Dallara-Chevy 215.731
4. Sam Hornish Jr Dallara-Toyota 215.717
5. Dan Wheldon Dallara-Honda 215.484
6. Bryan Herta Dallara-Honda 215.464
7. Buddy Lazier Dallara-Chevy 215.424
8. Tomas Enge Dallara-Chevy 215.113
9. Scott Sharp Panoz-Honda 215.101
10. Dario Franchitti Dallara-Honda 215.067
11. Helio Castroneves Dallara-Toyota 214.982
12. Kosuke Matsuura Panoz-Honda 214.481
13. Tony Kanaan Dallara-Honda 214.402
14. AJ Foyt IV Dallara-Chevy 213.898
15. Roger Yasukawa Dallara-Honda 212.720
16. Patrick Carpentier Dallara-Toyota 212.401
17. Jimmy Kite Dallara-Toyota 212.031
18. Alex Barron Dallara-Toyota 211.190
19. Ed Carpenter Dallara-Toyota 210.818
20. Vitor Meira Panoz-Honda -
21. Jaques Lazier Panoz-Toyota -
22. Scott Dixon Panoz-Toyota -
23. Ryan Briscoe Panoz-Toyota -