|Dixon accepts Peak Pole award|
Scott Dixon took another step toward the championship by winning the pole today for the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Pepsi and Edy's at sold out Kentucky Speedway.
Dixon earned his fifth PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award of the season (sixth pole start overall based on entrant points at Iowa Speedway) with a four-lap cumulative time of 1 minute, 37.3293 seconds (218.968 mph average) on the 1.5-mile oval to deny Vitor Meira of his first pole start since June 2004. Dixon tied Greg Ray for second all-time with 13 pole starts and ended Team Penske's run at four.
Vitor Meira, who made his IndyCar Series debut at Kentucky Speedway in 2002, still posted a season-high starting spot in the No. 4 Delphi National Guard entry for Panther Racing (1:37.5783; 218.409).
"That's where we were struggling a little bit, on qualifying," said Meira, who has four consecutive top-10 finishes at Kentucky. "We kept improving. We're still a little bit off but any day you're mixed up there with the Ganassis it has to be a good day since they're on a role here."
Dixon’s teammate Dan Wheldon qualified third, while Andretti Green Racing’s Hideki Mutoh qualified fourth.
Danica Patrick's crew will have the No. 7 Motorola back-up car ready for the race after the primary car made contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier during the afternoon practice session. Patrick did not make a qualifying attempt and will start from the last row of the 26-car field with Bruno Junqueira, who also did not make an attempt in the No. 17 Z-Line Designs car.
"It is really unfortunate that the Motorola car is starting in the last row," said Patrick, who started from the pole at Kentucky Speedway in 2005 and was ninth in the afternoon session (218.113 mph best lap). "We were running well in both practice sessions and then something broke causing us to hit the wall. We decided not to qualify. It's not ideal, but it gives the guys more time to get the back-up car ready for tomorrow. It is going to be a challenge getting through traffic, but I'm confident in my team and looking forward to the race."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified first): “Dan (Wheldon) was struggling earlier today, and I was certainly hoping he good be a bit better – maybe one spot better, but not faster than me. It's a good starting position for Team Target to be 1 and 3. I have to thank the team a lot. They have certainly prepared great cars, especially in qualifying. We just have to worry about our line (for the qualifying laps), and it worked out. Our race car is very similar to our qualifying setup. Hopefully we can lead a lot of laps, gain a lot of points and close in on that championship.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard, second): “I think we did really good. That’s where we were struggling a little bit, on qualifying. The Delphi Panther National Guard Car did really, really good. We kept improving. We’re still a little bit off, but any day you’re mixed up there with the Ganassi’s it has to be a good day since they’re on a role here. I’m pleased, and I hope that tomorrow goes as well as today did.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Polaroid, third): “It was a good run out there. There are four races left, and I want to finish for the team very strong, and that's what I'm focused on. They can expect a very strong effort from the No. 10 car tomorrow night. Scott (Dixon) has been very quick, and that's what the benchmark is for tomorrow.”
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, fourth): “The Formula Dream car has been very consistent and easy to handle this weekend so I am very with the car. I wish my time was a little faster, but I hope I will be able to stay close to the front. I won the Indy Lights race here last year, so I hope the race tomorrow will be a good one as last year.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, fifth): “The Team Penske car feels really solid, and it has a nice balance. We probably could've gotten a bit more speed out of it, but I'm certainly happy with where we are. I think we have a great car, and we should be in good shape for the race tomorrow.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, sixth): “Today was rather difficult in the early going for the No. 3 Team Penske crew. The car felt really solid during the practice sessions, but we didn't seem to have the speed of the leaders, and we couldn't figure out why that was. My engineer made the decision right before qualifying to make some changes to the car that seemed to work for us, and we ran our fastest lap of the day. We're pretty happy with our starting position, and our race car works really well in traffic, so we'll do our best to stay out of trouble and bring home another good result in hopes of keeping the championship battle alive.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, seventh): “I don’t think our qualifying run was strong enough today, but it is a long race, so I’m not worried. We had the misfortune of totaling a car here last week during a test with Rafa (Raphael Matos), and that cost us a lot. Unfortunately this Team 7-Eleven car doesn’t have all the nice pieces we need for a superspeedway, so we’re just hanging in there right now.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, eighth): “Consistency is always good for a driver to have, and those were some pretty consistent laps, (0.0033 of a second variance per lap) but I really need to thank my Vision guys. I wasn’t really happy with my car in that last practice, and thanks to my teammate A.J. (Foyt IV) for his input and my crew guys for putting in some hard work to change the Menards car completely for qualifying. As a result, we went faster in qualifying than I’ve been all day. There’s a lot of teamwork going on around here, and hopefully we’ll see it pay off.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer, ninth): “My run was quite easy because there wasn’t a lot more to go from a downforce standpoint. Unfortunately we just didn’t have the speed today in qualifying. I’m confident that the Meijer car will do the tow as it showed today in practice. It will do a good time, and we know we have a good race car.”
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing, 10th): “This track has always been good to us. We had a great race here last year, and this weekend we’ve had a really good car since we unloaded it, so I’m expecting to have a great run in the No. 2 Lilly car tomorrow. The first qualifying lap held us back a little or we’d have run a bit faster I think.”
||Lap 1 Time
||Lap 2 Time
||Lap 3 Time
||Lap 4 Time
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Vitor Meira (4)
||Dan Wheldon (10)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Marco Andretti (26)
||AJ Foyt IV (2)
||Marty Roth (25)
||Oriol Servia (5)
||Will Power (8)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (17)
||Buddy Rice (15)
||Sarah Fisher (67)
||Darren Manning (14)
||Milka Duno (23)
||Justin Wilson (02)
||Graham Rahal (06)
||EJ Viso (33)
||Jaime Camara (34)
||Mario Moraes (19)
||Enrique Bernoldi (36)