Briscoe takes Milwaukee pole

Ryan Briscoe moved out from under the shadow of his Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves by beating Graham Rahal to pole at the Milwaukee Mile

Briscoe takes Milwaukee pole

A year on from taking his first IndyCar win - a result that turned his hitherto poor 2008 season around - at the track, Briscoe recorded a four-lap time of 1m26.7966s (168.394 mph) around the historic oval, while his Indianapolis 500-winning team-mate Castroneves crashed during his qualifying run later in the session and will start last.

Briscoe, who started second at Indy and was heading for second behind Castroneves before being forced to pit late in the race, was 0.14s ahead of front row partner Rahal. The Australian's win at Milwaukee a year ago gave Roger Penske his 300th victory as a car owner.

"I came into this race last year not having had good experiences with this place, so getting the win was awesome," Briscoe said. "I learned a lot from my race last year. I didn't qualify very well. My car has been a lot better in qualifying this year, so hopefully we can replicate a good race set-up as well."

His team-mate Castroneves said his accident while trying to beat Briscoe to pole was caused by simply pushing too hard.

"I was just going for it," Castroneves said. "Sometimes you've just got to try. The car snapped a little bit. I thought I had saved it, but then it just slid and brushed the wall, and unfortunately that was the end of qualifying."

Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver Rahal and Briscoe had been the class of the field in practice, and Rahal reckoned that only a poor fourth lap stopped him beating the Penske man to pole.

"The car felt pretty good but I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap and our fourth lap time was three-tenths slower than the previous one," said Rahal. "If that hadn't happened I think we would have had pole. We showed up today exactly how we ended last year, because we were pretty competitive."

Andretti Green's Tony Kanaan shrugged off bruised ribs and other injuries to qualify third. Kanaan, who crashed heavily during the Indy 500 last week, had x-rays on his ribs that proved negative. Instead, doctors have treated the deep bruising with pain killers and rest.

"If you look at me, it looks like I'm not going to make it," Kanaan said. "But watch tomorrow. I try to forget about the pain, but it keeps reminding me every time I turn."

Behind Kanaan, Scott Dixon took fourth for Ganassi, with KV's Mario Moraes taking a career-best fifth ahead of AGR duo Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick, and Dixon's team-mate Dario Franchitti.

Raphael Matos was the leading rookie in ninth for Luczo Dragon, while Tomas Scheckter made a great start to what he hopes will be more than just a one-off deal with Dreyer & Reinbold by qualifying 10th, just ahead of team-mate Mike Conway.

Paul Tracy, who replaced Vitor Meira after his crash at Indy, qualified AJ Foyt's car in 16th position.

"The car wasn't in the ballpark this morning practice, so we put a new set-up on it," Tracy said. "[Foyt is] not mad at me. He's mad at the crew and engineer. He knows it's probably not the driver that's the problem."

Pos Driver Team Speed 1. Ryan Briscoe Penske 168.394mph 2. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 168.117mph 3. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 167.793mph 4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 167.089mph 5. Mario Moraes KV 166.791mph 6. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 166.139mph 7. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 165.168mph 8. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 164.706mph 9. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 164.671mph 10. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 163.310mph 11. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 162.187mph 12. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 161.657mph 13. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 161.531mph 14. Dan Wheldon Panther 161.433mph 15. Justin Wilson Coyne 161.411mph 16. Paul Tracy Foyt 160.798mph 17. EJ Viso HVM 160.744mph 18. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 160.381mph 19. Ed Carpenter Vision 160.079mph 20. Helio Castroneves Penske 
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