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Franchitti claims Texas pole

Dario FranchittiDario 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

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