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After Fontana
Final Driver Standings

Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
9 Marco Andretti 463
10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
11 Ryan Briscoe 461
12 James Hinchcliffe 456
13 Josef Newgarden 406
14 Charlie Kimball 402
15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Infineon: Castroneves wins IndyCar pole, Penske 1-2

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, August 23, 2008

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Helio Castroneves puckers up to kiss the trophy (Ever wonder how many germs are on those trophies?)
Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will start 1-2 Sunday for the Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County Indy Car race after topping the final fast-6 qualifying session on Saturday.  Castroneves and Briscoe were the only drivers to break into the 1m16s bracket, both finishing 1/100th of a second apart. 

KV Racing's Will Power will lineup 3rd ahead of Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Oriol Servia.

It was the third straight road course Team Penske 1-2 qualifying result, which is quite an accomplishment given the fact they lost their two primary cars in a fire earlier this week.

“The guys did an incredible job moving past the fire, turning the page and moving forward," said Castroneves.

"If there is a team that can rebound, it’s Team Penske. They proved it today. We’re happy with every accomplishment that we’ve made this weekend. Starting on the front row is big for us. We’re going to continue working hard tomorrow and hopefully have a good finish.”

Castroneves won his 26th career PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award with a best lap of 1 minute, 16.9027 seconds, 107.809 mph on the 12-turn, 2.30 mile circuit. Briscoe was second just 0.0158 of a second behind.

“It’s been pretty clear we have really fast cars on the road courses," said Briscoe.

"I think apart from St. Petersburg, we’ve had the front row every time. It’s been really good. Also, between Helio (Castroneves) and myself, we really push each other a lot, too. And that’s a big bonus, having two really fast cars on these tracks. We compare the data after every session, and I’ll pick up a bit where he’s strong and he’ll pick up a bit where I’m strong, and we just try to put it all together, so I think that really helps too. It’s great to have Team Penske sweep the front row again.”

KV Racing's Will Power and Oriol Servia have been knocking on the door all year but have not been able to quite nap the pole position over the top-3 Indy Car teams.

"We are getting closer every race," said Servia.  "What we are missing is experience.  We go the wrong way on setup many times because we do not have the experience with these cars like the IRL regulars do.  That happened today and I went backwards in the final fast-six session when we went with the wrong tire pressures..

The top 6 drivers from the first qualifying group

The top 6 from the 2nd qualifying group
  1. Oriol Servia
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Marco Andretti
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  5. Mario Dominguez
  6. Mario Moraes
  1. Will Power
  2. Ryan Briscoe
  3. Helio Castroneves
  4. Scott Dixon
  5. Danica Patrick
  6. Justin Wilson

These 12 advanced to the 2nd round of qualifying to determine who would shoot it out in the fast-6.  They were:

  1. Helio Castroneves
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Ryan Briscoe
  4. Scott Dixon
  5. Oriol Servia
  6. Will Power

Quotes

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified first): “The guys did an incredible job moving past the fire, turning the page and moving forward. If there is a team that can rebound, it’s Team Penske. They proved it today. We’re happy with every accomplishment that we’ve made this weekend. Starting on the front row is big for us. We’re going to continue working hard tomorrow and hopefully have a good finish.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second): “It’s been pretty clear we have really fast cars on the road courses. I think apart from St. Petersburg, we’ve had the front row every time. It’s been really good. Also, between Helio (Castroneves) and myself, we really push each other a lot, too. And that’s a big bonus, having two really fast cars on these tracks. We compare the data after every session, and I’ll pick up a bit where he’s strong and he’ll pick up a bit where I’m strong, and we just try to put it all together, so I think that really helps too. It’s great to have Team Penske sweep the front row again.”

WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia, third): “It’s good. We carried it through. We’ve sort of been there all weekend in the top three. We’re happy about that. I think I could have done a better job in that last run, but it does feel good. They’re very long races. We know it’s a lot about strategy. A lot of yellows fall in this race. We’re just happy we’ve got two cars up there. We’re doing well.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, fourth): “We were one change behind in (the Firestone Fast Six). We tried everything, and as a team we’ve come a long way. We’ve been struggling on the road courses, so I’m glad to see we’re in the top four. (At Infineon) you don’t want to start worse than the second row.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fifth): “I think we’re probably disappointed with our qualifying. The car was fairly decent, and then on that last qualifying run, we tried to lower the car a lot to see if we were just missing, and every time I tried to touch the brakes I was locking them up. And we couldn’t even get within eight-tenths (of a second) of our last run. It was worth a try. I think we would have only been one spot better – maybe in fourth. We just didn’t have enough for what those two Penske cars had. We always seem to race a little bit better, and we’re definitely happy with where we’re at. We just have to make sure we can follow up with some points tomorrow.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, sixth): “We had a great first two sessions, and I was really happy with the car. But at the end, we made a mistake with the pressures and the car was sliding all over, plus the track got hotter and I just couldn't stay close. I think we had a chance to put in a good lap at the end, at least to beat Scott (Dixon), but I waited a little too long to get a gap and I didn't get to make a run. Just a terrible session. But I'm happy that the car was good in the first two sessions and we're in good position for the race.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, seventh): “I’m disappointed that we didn’t make the Firestone Fast Six for the first time this season. I thought we had the potential. The McDonald’s car was quick but just a little difficult to drive. It was right on the edge all the way around, so we couldn’t quite put a lap together. I think we have the performance to gain some spots, but I don’t think this track lends itself to overtaking. We’ll just have to have a smart race, stay out of trouble and keep picking them off one at a time. Maybe we can overtake, but it’s only if somebody makes a mistake. We’ve seen a lot of people go off around here. It’s a tough track. The better your car is the more fuel you can save and the more chance you have of passing people in the pit s. We just need to make sure the car is good tomorrow morning in the warm-up.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol, eighth): “We’re not where we want to be, because I think anything other than being in the Firestone Fast Six is a disappointment, but the guys did a great job on the car and I think we can race from here tomorrow. The engineering staff turned a 14th-place car into an eighth-place one overnight, and we had something for the rest of the field until we got to the slow-speed sections of the track. We were as fast as anyone in the first half of the lap, and I think we could have caused some trouble. But we just didn’t have the whole package today. We’ll work on it some more and get it tomorrow.”

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola, ninth): “It was great that the Motorola car was able to make it into the fast 12. I can’t believe how close the times were. Of course I wish that we would have been able to make it into the Firestone Fast Six, but we are headed in the right direction. Hopefully we can keep the car up front and out of trouble throughout the race.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Blockbuster/Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 10th): “I had my hands full in qualifying today. The car was on the edge of grip at both ends. We made one little change and we completely tipped the car over from understeer to oversteer. It wasn't our best effort today, and we would be happier if we were starting a bit higher on the grid. The Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE YEARS race car is very good, though, so we're confident heading into tomorrow.”

Race Lineup

Pos

Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:16.9027 107.809 3 7
2 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:16.9185 107.787 2 7
3 Will Power (8) 1:17.0875 107.551 2 4
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:17.1286 107.493 2 7
5 Scott Dixon (9) 1:17.6682 106.746 2 5
6 Oriol Servia (5) 1:17.8377 106.514 5 6
7 Justin Wilson (02) 1:17.0056 107.665 4 8
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:17.0378 107.620 8 10
9 Danica Patrick (7) 1:17.0458 107.609 8 10
10 Marco Andretti (26) 1:17.2705 107.296 6 9
11 Mario Dominguez (96) 1:17.4614 107.031 5 9
12 Mario Moraes (19) 1:17.5882 106.856 2 9
13 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1:17.8306 106.524 7 9
14 E.J. Viso (33) 1:17.4189 107.090 9 11
15 Graham Rahal (06) 1:17.9012 106.427 10 11
16 Dan Wheldon (10) 1:17.4738 107.014 8 10
17 Tomas Scheckter (12) 1:18.1238 106.124 10 11
18 Vitor Meira (4) 1:17.5399 106.923 9 11
19 Townsend Bell (23) 1:18.3267 105.849 8 11
20 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:18.0038 106.287 9 10
21 Darren Manning (14) 1:18.3885 105.766 10 11
22 Buddy Rice (15) 1:18.1139 106.137 8 11
23 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:18.4034 105.745 9 13
24 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 1:18.3715 105.788 10 11
25 Marty Roth (25) 1:19.9435 103.708 13 13
26 Jaime Camara (34) 1:19.4711 104.325 8 10
27 Enrique Bernoldi (36) -0.0001 0.000 0 2

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