Franchitti wins IndyCar pole in Texas
Ryan Briscoe will start alongside Franchitti in the Bombardier Learjet 550k after a four-lap average of 214.413 mph.
Points leader and defending race winner Scott Dixon (214.296) and Helio Castroneves (214.228) will be on Row 2. Danica Patrick will start fifth (213.929) and share Row 3 with Mario Moraes (213.717).
Saturday's 228-lap race, the first night event of the 2009 IndyCar season, starts at 9:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on The Versus Network, starting with the pre-race show at 9 p.m.
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Energizer, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "To win the pole at Texas says a lot about the Target guys and the job they do building the car. The regulations are so tight now that it's all about the details. The cars are so similar. It's all about how the guys build the car and the changes they make. The team makes a great car and it's my job in qualifying is not to screw it up. If the car is fast enough, you're looking good. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. It's a tough, long and demanding race."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, qualified second): "It was a pretty good run; we just weren't quick enough over four laps and were a tenth (of a second) off. We always treat qualifying as a the first race of the weekend, so it's always good to go for the pole. It's a long race and I believe we'll have a strong race car, which is the most important thing. The night race is always spectacular. I've had some good results here, so I always look forward to coming back."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified fourth): "I put the pedal to the metal, but it was just one of those days where there was not much happening. It's too bad because we have a quick car, and we didn't qualify as fast as I thought we would. But we'll move on to tomorrow and the important thing is that it's a long race, and we have a really good car. The fastest car is not always the winner at Texas, I've won from the pole, and I've won from third place. Overall, I'm happy to be starting in the second row considering last week's qualifying (Castroneves started last after crashing during qualifying.) Tomorrow night will be a challenge because a lot of people will be close to one another on the track, but hopefully everyone will be smart at the beginning and it will be a good clean race. It will be a long tough race, but it's always lots of fun here at Texas."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola, qualified fifth): "The car felt really good as soon as I went out. We made a few small changes to the car for the qualifying run that were helpful. We are trying to have as many options for the Boost Mobile/Motorola car as we can. I wish we could've held on to the pole, but I think we are going to be really competitive tomorrow night."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 KV Racing Technology/Votorantim, qualified sixth): "The KV Racing Technology team has worked really hard on the No. 5 car for the ovals and I think the hard work has paid off in our last four qualifying attempts. We spent yesterday working on our race setup. Today in practice we concentrated on the qualifying setup. We had a good qualifying run today and I think we will have a good car for the race tomorrow."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, qualified seventh): "We you look at qualifying, we did the same time that we did on our own earlier in the day in practice. We're still not quite where we need to be, but we're looking for areas where we can improve. You can see where the big teams were able to make a big jump from what they ran in practice, and over time we'll figure those things out. The National Guard Panther Racing car is certainly good for the race, we've rolled off the truck here very competitive, and that's what we need to do. We still don't have our first win of the season and we're trying desperately for that. This is going to be a very, very competitive race, and we're in pretty reasonable shape."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, qualified eighth): "I'm content with were we qualified tonight. We didn't put a heavy focus on the qualifying set up for the No. 26 car and during our run we had a problem with the roll bar. I had to make adjustments every lap, which I think cost us some time. Overall not bad for the Venom boys, I think we'll be competitive and make our way through traffic without problems. I look forward to the race."
ROBERT DOORNBOS (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, qualified ninth): "This is obviously a very special oval. It's an exciting place; I really love it. On the banking you feel like Spiderman. I have raced on three total (ovals) until now, and this is definitely up there. I think we had a good run. You always want more as a driver. I pushed the pedal so far that I think I almost bent it. I think we can be happy and I look forward to a fun race tomorrow with a good setup. In qualifying we just stayed on the white line. I hit the pedal hard. I was flat, flat, flat. There was no more in the car so we can be happy. I got the maximum out of it. Every time I am in the car, I learn. I like this four-lap average format. I think you can really make a difference on your out lap if you are aggressive out of pit lane and flat straight away. It's good fun."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, qualified 10th): "I told my engineer Jeff Britton if we could get the No. 20 Menards/Johns Manville car to run 213 mph that I'd be happy. We hadn't run in the 213 range on any runs in practice yet. I'm happy with our qualifying effort of 213.435 mph average so it was a pretty go run for us. It's an improvement to where we qualified from Kansas and we're trying to get better all the time."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): "I'm happy with today's qualifying run. We focused most of our practice on the race set-up and I think we have a really good car for the race. I did well here last year, so hopefully we can do the same come tomorrow night."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "It's frustrating because the McDonald's team expected to be faster than this. To be quite honest, all weekend I thought that something was amiss. I didn't feel like the car was pulling properly. I noticed this morning that we couldn't tow up on people in the draft. It's unfortunate because you get so used to being so competitive. To come here and not be is frustrating. We hope that we can figure something out here so we can get a little more speed for passing in the race. We're going to work on having some good stops and move forward in the race."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It's been a very challenging weekend for the Team 7-Eleven car. We are not where we want to be. The car felt slow during the qualifying run. I know the No. 11 guys have been working really hard, and I know they are just as frustrated. We have some work to do before tomorrow night."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing): "I think qualifying was OK. We always have a goal of qualifying in the top 10, but we just had a little too much understeer and were cutting too much speed off the corners. The Air Force Luczo Dragon team has found speed in the car since yesterday, so we have made some good progress. I am confident that we will have a consistent race car, which is more important here on this track than starting position. You need to be confident with the car here and have the best balance possible so that you can run in the big packs, conserve your tires and attack people."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21 Vision Racing): "Frustrated is the only word I can use right now. This is not where we want to be or where we should be. We're taking a long hard look at it and hoping to get it figured out. Based on yesterday's night practice I think we'll be just fine for running in traffic in the race and we'll have to do a lot of that to make our way forward."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "It's fantastic. I have to take my hat off to the guys. They did an absolutely incredible job with the car. We didn't have a lot of track time with the issue we had yesterday, and we didn't really have time to practice in qualifying trim before going out for my qualifying run today. They gave me a car with pretty much a perfect setup. The Rexall Edmonton Indy car was on the edge and fast. It was great. It's a great qualifying result for the team, we haven't tested on an oval track this year, and it's only our second oval event of the season. I think it's a great testament to how good this team is. Now I can't wait until the race tomorrow night."
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