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After Sonoma
Rank Driver Points

1 Josef Newgarden 642
2 Simon Pagenaud 629
3 Scott Dixon 621
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33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
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36 Tristan Vautier 15
37 Buddy Lazier 14

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1. Ed Jones 354
2. Esteban Gutierrez 91
3. Jack Harvey 57
4. Fernando Alonso 47
5. Zach Veach 23

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1. Chevy 1489
2. Honda 1326

Briscoe and Wilson on front row in Mid-Ohio

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, August 8, 2009


Ryan Briscoe won his 7th IndyCar pole
No. 6 Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe turned a lap of 1m06.614s Saturday to win the pole position for the Honda Indy 200 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio.  Justin Wilson, driving the Dale Coyne Racing No. 18 was the only other driver to break into the 1m06 sec. bracket but his time of 1m06.707s came up just 0.0193 sec. short.

Scott Dixon (Ganassi) will start 3rd ahead of Graham Rahal (NHLR).  Helio Castroneves (Penske) and Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) rounded out the Fast 6.

Justin Wilson came close to taking pole again
" I think it really came down to the tire management," said Briscoe. "I think we had the luckier group today. We were able to save tires through the first qualifying run. I was saved by the yellow at the end. Got a little bit of heat in the first set of my red tires, I would have posted a fast lap on them in Q2, save a new set for the fast six.

"The car has been getting a little bit better. It's been kind of tricky getting used to the circuit conditions. But, you know, I was pretty happy with the car today. Dixon actually had the fastest lap of the weekend, but he did it in Q2 and not Q3."

It was Briscoe's 7th career IndyCar Series pole and his third of the season.  It also marks the 182nd pole overall and 7th pole for Team Penske at Mid-Ohio (counting their CART days) and 5th consecutive pole for the team this year.

"The car had been running well all day. It was just fun to drive. I was really enjoying it," said Wilson.

"We managed to save a set of reds in the second session of qualifying. We just used the used reds. They were pretty quick, even on the second run. I was panicking at that point. I was a little bit nervous. My engineer Bill (Pappas) and Dale (Coyne) were saying, "Oh, no, it will be fine, we've got to do this. It will be OK." I left the pits shaking my head, "This is not going to go well."

"The competition level is so high. There are so many guys that can go out and do the job. The car was good again. We got through. Unfortunately, I missed it by a couple hundredths of a second and I'm pretty disappointed in that. I know where it was on the track; just got a little carried away in a couple of places. That's how it is. You can't go back and fix it. We'll look forward to the race.

"We are going to be pushing hard, trying to get another victory. That's our goal. We want to win races. We're getting stronger on the ovals. Fifth might be a bit of a stretch for us, but I think we're aiming high. We want to get -- we want to move forward in the championship. We lost two positions in the last race with that failure. That was costly. But we're just going to keep pushing and do everything we can and maximize what we can do."

Sunday calls for warmer temperatures but the drivers feel the softer Red Firestones will last a full stint.

The race will be telecast live Sunday in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. A one-hour qualifying show will be telecast by VERSUS at 6 p.m. today. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on  The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 10 by VERSUS.


RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "Mid-Ohio has treated Team Penske well. It's a lot of fun around this track. It's been tricky conditions so far with the rain and some patches in the corner.  It changes the balance of the car from corner to corner. The red Firestones in final qualifying were awesome. A lot of grip, and as usual, a lot of fun to drive. The team has a lot of history here. We love the track. All the credit to the engineers and mechanics at Team Penske. They give us a fantastic car to drive and make my job a whole lot easier."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, qualified second): "It went well. The car was working well and everyone on the team has done a great job. I was hoping we could get the Z-line Design Furniture car on the front row, if not the pole, and we missed it by a fraction. That's frustrating, to know that your that close and it didn't quite happen. This is hopefully a repeat of Watkins Glen."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "It was alright. We set the overall fast time, but are starting third so it's frustrating. It just shows that the qualifying now is time management and strategy. I'm happy with the speed of the car. We definitely have the speed to win. We've just got to try to jump another few cars, which is going to be tough on this track.

GRAHAM RAHAL: (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, qualified fourth): "The McDonalds car felt pretty good all day. We were just trying to squeeze as much out of those red tires as we could. It took us a little while, that's for sure, to get to that point but I think at the end it felt pretty good. We didn't have new reds and some of the other guys did and we were just lacking that little bit. If we had a little more grip, I think we could have been awfully close to pole. That's what I would have loved, obviously, with this being my hometown but that's how it goes."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified fifth): "I don't think I would have been able to more than I did. It's a shame because we wanted to be on the front row like last year, but Ryan did a great job (pole). He saved a new set (of Firestone alternate tires) for the last qualifying, which paid off for him. We do have a very good car; it seems to be very close and it should be a lot of fun."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified sixth): "We're missing just a little bit on the road courses right now. The street courses have been good, so we have to keep working on that. I think we have a good race car. It seems to work OK on the (primary Firestone tires). I'm a little disappointed; we've made every (Firestone) Fast Six this year but we need to move up in it."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J Foyt Racing, qualified seventh): "We worked together well as a team this weekend , we made the ABC Supply car better from yesterday to today. We made the right changes on it.thI wish we could have made the fast six cause it was close but that's how it goes. We're glad to get the team its best start this year and now we can work on getting its best finish."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, qualified eighth): "We have been working really hard to turn this situation around and we are making small steps.thI was disappointed because I thought we had a chance at making the Fast Six, but the other teams made better progress throughout the sessions that we are able to.

E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA/HVM Racing, qualified ninth): "We had a pretty good qualifying effort.  I'm very happy that every session we went out, we went a step forward.  There's definitely an improvement in the car.  I used the maximum out of what I had in my hands, and that's pretty good for me and for the team. From here, we have a pretty good base and we just need to start working a little harder in order to get into the third round of qualifying.  It's another four or five tenths that we need, and those are the difficult ones."

PAUL TRACY (No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KVRT, qualified 10th): It's just super competitive out there. We made it into the top-12. I didn't think we would advance into the Firestone Fast Six, but I thought we would be in the top-10 and we ended up 10th. We still need to do some work on the car to make it better for the race.  I want to thank Mario again for this opportunity. I just want to have a good race tomorrow for him and his family."



Driver Diff Time Speed Status
1 Ryan Briscoe (6) --.---- 1:06.6814 121.905 Firestone Fast 6
2 Justin Wilson (18) 0.0193 1:06.7007 121.870 Firestone Fast 6
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.3424 1:07.0238 121.282 Firestone Fast 6
4 Graham Rahal (02) 0.3826 1:07.0640 121.210 Firestone Fast 6
5 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.4995 1:07.1809 120.999 Firestone Fast 6
6 Dario Franchitti (10) 0.6977 1:07.3791 120.643 Firestone Fast 6
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 0.5550 1:07.2364 120.899 Round 2
8 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.8269 1:07.5083 120.412 Round 2
9 EJ Viso (13) 0.8898 1:07.5712 120.300 Round 2
10 Paul Tracy (5) 0.9315 1:07.6129 120.226 Round 2
11 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.9885 1:07.6699 120.124 Round 2
12 Danica Patrick (7) 1.0626 1:07.7440 119.993 Round 2
13 Marco Andretti (26) 1.4965 1:08.1779 119.229 Rnd 1 Grp 1
14 Oriol Servia (06) 1.7500 1:08.4314 118.788 Rnd 1 Grp 2
15 Raphael Matos (2) 1.5497 1:08.2311 119.136 Rnd 1 Grp 1
16 Mike Conway (24) 1.8681 1:08.5495 118.583 Rnd 1 Grp 2
17 Dan Wheldon (4) 2.1362 1:08.8176 118.121 Rnd 1 Grp 1
18 Robert Doornbos (33) 1.8920 1:08.5734 118.542 Rnd 1 Grp 2
19 Richard Antinucci (98) 2.1702 1:08.8516 118.063 Rnd 1 Grp 1
20 Milka Duno (23) 7.8557 1:14.5371 109.057 Rnd 1 Grp 2
21 Ed Carpenter (20) 3.0327 1:09.7141 116.602 Rnd 1 Grp 1

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