For the second consecutive day, Andretti Green Racing’s Tony Kanaan was the fastest Honda-powered entry at the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix, and the defending series champion will start third in Sunday’s 80-lap road race at Infineon Raceway, the first event on a ‘natural terrain’ road course in the 10-year history of the Indy Racing League.
Kanaan was third quickest in both single-car qualifying, and the 10-minute “shootout” that followed for the top six qualifiers. Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole, the first in IndyCar Series competition for the rookie after two years as a Formula One test driver.
Buddy Rice will start sixth for Rahal Letterman Racing in his first road race since 2001, with series points leader Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta rounding out the top eight starters. Vitor Meira will start 11th in his Rahal Letterman Racing entry, with Kosuke Matsuura leading the Fernandez Racing effort in 15th. Dario Franchitti will start at the rear of the field after spinning out during his one-lap qualifying run.
Buddy Rice (#15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Rahal Letterman Racing Honda) qualified sixth:
" We learned a little bit in the single-car qualifying and tried some new things in the ten-minute shootout [for the top six qualifiers]. I think those things will help us in the race. In the shootout, we were running a top-three time but couldn’t get the car to stick well coming down the hill. It is exciting to be back on a permanent road circuit. I think we have a pretty consistent car for the race and starting up in the first three rows will help. Everyone is so close, and some of the guys have a little bit more grip overall, and that makes them better on the time sheet. In the race, it could be a different story. I think you’ll see some bumping and shoving to get by and physical conditioning will be important. Everyone is going to be fighting for the same spots on the track. That should make for an interesting and exciting race for the fans."