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After Sonoma
Rank Driver Points

1 Josef Newgarden 642
2 Simon Pagenaud 629
3 Scott Dixon 621
4 Helio Castroneves 598
5 Will Power 562
6 Graham Rahal 522
7 Alexander Rossi 494
8 Takuma Sato 441
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 421
10 Tony Kanaan 403
11 Max Chilton 396
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13 James Hinchcliffe 376
14 Ed Jones 354
15 JR Hildebrand 347
16 Carlos Munoz 328
17 Charlie Kimball 327
18 Conor Daly 305
19 Mikhail Aleshin 237
20 Spencer Pigot 218
21 Sebastien Bourdais 214
22 Ed Carpenter 169
23 Gabby Chaves 98
24 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
25 Esteban Gutierrez 91
26 Sebastian Saavedra 80
27 Oriol Servia 61
28 Jack Harvey 57
29 Fernando Alonso 47
30 Pippa Mann 32
31 Zachary Claman DeMelo 26
32 Jay Howard 24
33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
35 James Davison 21
36 Tristan Vautier 15
37 Buddy Lazier 14

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

Manufacturer Standings
1. Chevy 1489
2. Honda 1326

Surfers: 'Will' Powers way to third straight pole

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Will Power holds up his Peak Antifreeze Trophy
Shawn Payne/IRL
Will Power has re-written history at day three of the Nikon Indy 300, becoming the first driver to win three pole positions on the Gold Coast (2006, 2007, 2008) and the only one to secure the pole spot in three consecutive years.  The prior two years he won the pole in a Champ Car. 

“I can’t believe I have another pole start here,” Power said.  “But, it’s only the pole and the goal is to win the race on Sunday.  That’s the big prize here.  It was a mega last lap.  And I’m really happy for Craig Gore, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser.  They have supported me through my whole professional career so I am really happy for them.  I also want to thank everyone at KV Racing Technology – Team Australia.  Mark Johnson, Dave Brzozowski, the engineers and the entire crew has done a great job all weekend.”

Second and third fastest went to Power’s fellow ‘Down Under’ drivers – Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon and Sydney’s Ryan Briscoe, while Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves rounded out the fast six, with both Franchitti (2003 Gold Coast winner) and Briscoe praising the Event in the post-qualifying press conference.

Craig Gore, Will Power and Kevin Kalkhoven celebrate a third consecutive Nikon Indy 300 pole position for Team Australia
Edge Photographics
Today’s pole position is Will Power’s first since the unification of the Champ Car World Series and the IndyCar Series at the start of 2008, and allows him to claim the record after being tied with Nigel Mansell (1993, 1994), Dario Franchitti (1998, 1999) and Michael Andretti (1991, 1995) on two poles up until today.

The session was a difficult one for the entire field with rain in the earlier segments, but with the track drying and improving with every lap in the final sector there was a furious battle for the top spot with Power securing it with a flying lap, snatching it from Dixon at the final opportunity by lapping at an average speed of 105.977mph (1m 34.9451s) to Dixon’s 105.067mph (1m 35.7672s).

Power, a native of nearby Toowoomba, Australia, will be joined on the front row for the 60-lap race by New Zealander Scott Dixon (1:35.7672; 105.067), the reigning IndyCar Series champion in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Aussie Ryan Briscoe will start third in the No. 6 Team Penske car (1:35.8007; 105.031).

EJ Viso tears through a chicane in the wet
Jim Haines/IRL
Changing weather conditions made qualifying - which included three segments of 20 minutes, 15 minutes and 10 minutes, in which the fastest six from each advance to the next round - tricky, as a storm hit just as the first of the segments began.  All teams switched to wet-tread tires for the first segment and half of the second segment before returning to race slicks.  By the final “Firestone Fast Six” segment, the track was nearly dry, with only a few wet sections from Turns 9 through 12.

Power started the day at the top of the speed charts after yesterday’s twin practices with a time of 94.8084 seconds (106.130 mph).  In this morning’s practice, which was run in two groups, he went out with the second group and posted the second fastest lap of his session, 94.6523 seconds (106.305 mph), and the second quickest when the times from both groups were combined.

Power, in Group #2 of Round #1, which was run without rain, but still on a very wet track, advanced when he posted the fastest lap in his group with a lap of 110.4357 seconds. During Round #2, with the track was drying, Power ran on slick tires and recorded the fifth fastest time, 100.4642 seconds to advance to the final round, the Firestone Fast Six.  In the finals, the local boy was able to pull out all the stops on a dry track notching his fast lap on the last lap of his run.

This isn't 100% throttle no talent required racing and Danica Patrick has been far off the pace in Surfers.  She crashed twice and looks hopeless on the difficult Surfers Paradise streets
Jim Haines/IRL
The wet track caused havoc for some drivers, including the race's only female driver Danica Patrick, who hit the wall twice and failed to finish a single lap.

She will start from the back of the grid in 23rd position.

The Nikon Indy 300 will be broadcast on ESPN Classic on Saturday, October 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET.  There will be a re-air on ESPN 2 on Sunday, October 26 at 11:00 p.m.


Will Power is the first Indy car driver to win three pole positions in Australia (2006-2008). He is the first driver to win the pole in consecutive years.
Scott Dixon qualified second, his 10th front-row start in 2008.
Ryan Briscoe qualified third – his best start in Australia.
Dario Franchitti qualified fourth in his 2008 IndyCar Series debut


WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia, PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award winner): "It was quite a difficult session, to be honest. I went out there and half the track was wet and half the track was dry. It was a matter of getting through each round and in the last round it was all dry. It was back to what I knew quite well. On the last lap, I backed off out and made sure I got a good run in. I'm very happy for the team. We turned up with a pretty good car out of the box and the guys did great work. Hopefully we can get it done this weekend, because that's what we've been trying to do for the last three years."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified second): "Today was pretty interesting qualifying with the different conditions. We nearly got caught out a couple times not getting a lap in and then getting a yellow. Getting though Q2 was quite nice because we were sitting in ninth before the last lap. It was definitely a good day for Team Target. A lot of credit goes to Will (Power) for putting together a lap like that in the conditions that we had. I don't think we would have had that if we had gotten all the corners right."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, qualified third): "My run was pretty good – it was good fun out there.  I was a bit nervous when the rain came down – it’s never fun going down a street course in the wet – it’s pretty daunting.  The car seemed to work pretty well, the tires were really good in those conditions as I never had any moments of aquaplaning - I give a lot of credit to Firestone there.  At the end when we finally made it to the Fast 6, the track was just getting dry and it was the first time we were able to put a good lap together.  It wasn’t bad – it was the first time I was really able to attack the curbs.  I was just hoping for the best coming off of them.  I rubbed the wall a few times, but I’m happy where we’re starting tomorrow.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI: (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified fourth): "As for my day, it's been pretty good. First practice was OK, but then the rain came and I thought it was going to be a bit of a challenge because I haven't driven in an IndyCar (Series car) in the wet for hell knows how long. It seemed to work OK. It was dry for the first half of the lap, so I thought, let's go to slicks here. I went tearing into Turn 7 and it was completely wet and I almost stuck it in the fence. Got through the first two sessions OK and I overdrove the Fast Six. I felt driving in wet knocked my rhythm off a little bit and I didn't do a good job. The car was awesome and the Target boys did a hell of a job preparing the car. It's gone a lot better than I expected."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol, qualified fifth): "It’s encouraging to go into the last race of the year starting in the Firestone Fast Six. Everything is so uncertain going into the off-season. We don’t have a deal yet. It’s all up in the air." (On season overview): "There have been some strong points. I have to remind myself that we’re a single-car team. It’s not easy when you don’t have anything to compare it to. You don’t have another car out there gathering data, gathering changes that work. We were a constant threat in the top five, so that’s all that matters.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified sixth): "We took a gamble there when it started raining.  We had 20 minutes in the first session and it looked like it was going to continue raining, so we decided to change part of the gearing of the car.  When we made the top six, we kept to our plan and the gears.  Ultimately the track dried out.  It was a little bit hard to put together the right lap, but it paid off because top-six at this place is pretty good.  Hopefully we’ll continue our good progress during the weekend and see what happens tomorrow.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 36 Conquest Racing, qualified seventh): "I think we showed that Conquest Racing is a very competitive team. I think we deserved a lot better than P7, we had a car that could easily be in the top four this afternoon. We should have been in the top six in qualifying. Our position in the pits, being at the end of pit lane, hurt us quite a bit. It made qualifying pretty difficult because we were quick, but other guys in front of us were able to get out of the pit earlier and were able to complete one extra lap. Throughout qualifying, we were consistently at the top and looking good to move on to Segment 3 but unfortunately guys that did extra laps got us. The team has worked really hard and done a great job. We’re confident for the race tomorrow. We feel that we have a car that can compete with the guys in front of us. Starting seventh is not a bad spot, we just have to stay out of trouble and do our best.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, qualified eighth): "The Team 7-Eleven car should have been in the Firestone Fast Six but the league said I crossed the finish line and took the checkered flag, so my last lap didn’t count.  It is completely unfair because I was right behind Dario (Franchitti) and they gave him the lap so I don’t know what to say.  We’ll take eighth but we’re not happy about it.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald, qualified ninth); “Based on our potential I am pretty disappointed. The McDonald’s team ran the quickest time the whole weekend but our starting position doesn’t reflect that. I thought we had a lot of potential but we couldn’t get a lap out of it quick enough. We were slipping and sliding around. In conditions like that where its wet and drying you need to be able to get on it and I couldn’t for whatever reason. Anything can happen in this race especially with a rolling start here. It’s going to chaos at Turn 1. I think we can still be very smart and work this out because it’s by no means over. We can still win this race and show what we are capable of.”

Grid: Nikon Indy 300

Row 1
Pos. 1
Will Power
Will Power
Car # 8

Speed/Time: 105.977/1:34.9451
Pos. 2
Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon
Car # 9

Speed/Time: 105.067/1:35.7672
Row 2
Pos. 3
Ryan Briscoe
Ryan Briscoe
Car # 6

Speed/Time: 105.031/1:35.8007
Pos. 4
Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti
Car # 10

Speed/Time: 104.885/1:35.9336
Row 3
Pos. 5
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Car # 17

Speed/Time: 104.374/1:36.403
Pos. 6
Helio Castroneves
Helio Castroneves
Car # 3

Speed/Time: 104.008/1:36.7425
Row 4
Pos. 7
Alex Tagliani
Alex Tagliani
Car # 36

Speed/Time: 99.317/1:41.3122
Pos. 8
Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan
Car # 11

Speed/Time: 99.229/1:41.4023
Row 5
Pos. 9
Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson
Car # 02

Speed/Time: 98.606/1:42.0429
Pos. 10
E.J. Viso
E.J. Viso
Car # 33

Speed/Time: 97.767/1:42.9185
Row 6
Pos. 11
Vitor Meira
Vitor Meira
Car # 14

Speed/Time: 96.440/1:44.3348
Pos. 12
Mario Moraes
Mario Moraes
Car # 19

Speed/Time: 90.238/1:51.5054
Row 7
Pos. 13
Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal
Car # 06

Speed/Time: 87.030/1:55.6155
Pos. 14
Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti
Car # 26

Speed/Time: 89.672/1:52.2084
Row 8
Pos. 15
Oriol Servia
Oriol Servia
Car # 5

Speed/Time: 86.994/1:55.6628
Pos. 16
Hideki Mutoh
Hideki Mutoh
Car # 27

Speed/Time: 88.781/1:53.3353
Row 9
Pos. 17
Bruno Junqueira
Bruno Junqueira
Car # 18

Speed/Time: 85.258/1:58.0183
Pos. 18
Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon
Car # 4

Speed/Time: 88.328/1:53.916
Row 10
Pos. 19
Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter
Car # 20

Speed/Time: 84.721/1:58.7664
Pos. 20
Jaime Camara
Jaime Camara
Car # 34

Speed/Time: 88.223/1:54.0514
Row 11
Pos. 21
Townsend Bell
Townsend Bell
Car # 23

Speed/Time: 84.607/1:58.9264
Pos. 22
Buddy Rice
Buddy Rice
Car # 15

Speed/Time: 87.994/1:54.3489
Row 12
Pos. 23
Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick
Car # 7

Speed/Time: no speed/-0.0001
Pos. 24
A.J. Foyt IV
A.J. Foyt IV
Car # 2

Speed/Time: no speed/-0.0001

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