Franchitti claims Texas pole
|By Matt Beer and Jeff Olson||Friday, June 5th 2009, 23:37 GMT|
Dario Franchitti took his first pole position since returning to the IndyCar Series from NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
The 2007 champion deposed Ryan Briscoe early in qualifying, as Ganassi and Penske dominated yet another oval session.
Franchitti's Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon also sat on provisional pole for a while before being pushed back to third, while Briscoe's Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves was the last of the main contenders to run but had to settle for fourth.
Danica Patrick (Andretti Green) continued her strong recent form by taking the 'best of the rest' spot in fifth, ahead of the impressive Mario Moraes, who again demonstrated KV Racing's improving raw pace on ovals.
Thursday practice pace-setter Dan Wheldon took seventh on the grid for Panther Racing, followed by Andretti Green's Marco Andretti, top rookie Robert Doornbos (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) and Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter.
Notable performances further back included encouraging row seven runs by Conquest's Alex Tagliani and owner/driver Sarah Fisher, but there was disappointment for Tony Kanaan, who was a long way off his AGR team-mates' pace and frustrated with a lack of speed as he took 16th.
Franchitti's car has carried an array of different sponsor liveries this year and at Texas is running in the colours of Energizer. After qualifying he was made aware that Ganassi cars running Energizer colours have a perfect three wins out of three record, thanks to two victories at Watkins Glen and one at Nashville for his team-mate Dixon on the occasions the double champion had run the company's livery.
"Thanks for reminding me," Franchitti said to reporters with a laugh. "That's quite a record, isn't it? It would be nice to continue it, but we'll see what happens."
Pos Driver Team Speed 1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 214.513mph 2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 214.413mph 3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 214.296mph 4. Helio Castroneves Penske 214.228mph 5. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 213.929mph 6. Mario Moraes KV 213.717mph 7. Dan Wheldon Panther 213.596mph 8. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 213.540mph 9. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 213.479mph 10. Ed Carpenter Vision 213.435mph 11. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 213.327mph 12. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 213.178mph 13. Alex Tagliani Conquest 213.173mph 14. Sarah Fisher Fisher 212.554mph 15. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 212.137mph 16. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 212.108mph 17. Justin Wilson Coyne 212.021mph 18. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 211.741mph 19. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 211.686mph 20. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 211.601mph 21. EJ Viso HVM 211.553mph 22. AJ Foyt IV Foyt 211.454mph 23. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 210.532mph 24. Jaques Lazier 3G 209.329mph