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Castroneves makes it four

Helio Castroneves took his fourth successive IndyCar Series pole position as he topped the times for Sunday's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The Brazilian, driving a Dallara-Toyota, out-gunned Panther Racing's Tomas Scheckter, in his quest to take his first victory of the year in the final race of the season

Castroneves lapped the 1.5-mile oval in 24.250s - 215.996mph - to equal Billy Boat's record of four consecutive poles set in 1998, eclipsing Scheckter's mark of 215.831mph set with a special Chevrolet qualifying engine.

"I knew it would be close," said Castroneves. "I said, 'Do we go for too much? I don't want to miss the pole by a few hundredths. That would be very frustrating.' That's when we took a chance, and it worked pretty well."

"I can't believe it right now. I'm pinching myself. Four in a row. It's just awesome."

For Scheckter, consistently the quickest Chevrolet runner of the season, the disappointment of missing pole was offset by his best qualifying result of the season. Prior to Texas his best effort had been third on the grid during the opening round at Homestead.

"I don't know how many more horsepower are in this engine, but it's a whole different game," said Scheckter. "I've led a lot of races here. To be up front at the start of one of these races is great. The last race here, I think we qualified 13th. You're stuck in massively dirty air. It's a whole different world. We've made a big jump."

Penske team-mate Sam Hornish Jr. will start third, followed by Rahal Letterman Racing drivers Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice in their G Force-Hondas. Scott Dixon, whose Ganassi Racing team-mate Darren Manning is on the bench through injury for the finale, pulled off during his initial qualifying attempt. But the out-going champion came back at the end of the session and made his one lap count for the sixth-fastest of the day.

Andretti Green Racing team-mates filled out the top 10, with Bryan Herta seventh, Dan Wheldon eighth, Dario Franchitti ninth and Tony Kanaan 10th.

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