Rain washes out IRL qualifying

Rain showers and the forecast of thunderstorms conspired to wash out Marlboro Pole Qualifying for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

The starting grid was based on combined practice sessions results from the morning and afternoon. Tomas Scheckter, driving the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, had the fastest lap (203.117 mph; 23.0409 seconds) and will start from the pole. IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick will join him on the front row on the basis of a quick lap of 203.088 mph.

Scheckter had the top time in the first session, while Patrick posted the top speed (203.088 mph) in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone in the second. Scheckter will start from the pole for the third time this season.

"To be honest, I didn't like this track too much, until a couple of minutes ago when they said I was on pole," Scheckter said. "It's very satisfying. I was extremely happy about this pole. It's a tough track to get a pole. We were the quickest in the first session, and we were pretty quick in the second session, as well. We felt we had a pretty good chance if we qualified. For some reason, knowing how difficult it is, it's good to walk away with the pole."

Buddy Lazier (202.927) and Dario Franchitti (202.892) will occupy Row 2.

Also on July 15, Panther Racing announced that it will field a third entry for Lazier in two additional races this season. Lazier will drive the No. 95 Pennzoil/Byrd's/American Sentry Guard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 14 and Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 11. Lazier is already scheduled to compete at Michigan International Speedway on July 31.

Qualifying Friday (based on practice speeds) for the Firestone Indy 200 IRL IndyCar Series event on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 203.117 *
2. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 203.088
3. (95) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 202.927
4. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 202.892
5. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 202.602
6. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 202.561
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 202.515
8. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 202.511
9. (10) Darren Manning, Panoz-Toyota, 202.491
10. (33) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 202.489
11. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 202.345
12. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 202.196
13. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 202.175
14. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 201.937
15. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 201.493
16. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 201.140
17. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 201.035
18. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 200.119
19. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 199.546
20. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 199.200
21. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 198.847
22. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 198.141
23. (91) Jimmy Kite, Dallara-Toyota, 197.593

*Starting lineup determined by the practice speeds from the combined practices after qualifying was cancelled due to rain.

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