Tony Kanaan and his Andretti Green Racing team took a chance in qualifying Saturday at Watkins Glen International Raceway, but the setup changes they made prior to the final 10-minute “shootout” failed to pan out, as the defending IndyCar Series champion dropped to fifth on the grid for Sunday's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix.
Kanaan posted the third-fastest time in single-car qualifying, making himself eligible for the pole shootout:a brief group session for the fastest six drivers. Teammate Dario Franchitti ran fourth fastest in single-car qualifying to become the second Honda entry in the final qualifying round.
Both Honda drivers reduced the aerodynamic downforce levels and improved their lap times, but not as much as their competitors, as Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves claimed his second IndyCar series pole of the season with an average speed of 133.806 mph around the fast and hilly 3.37-mile Watkins Glen road course.
Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice just missed making the shootout, qualifying seventh and eighth, respectively, in their single-car runs. Six-race winner Dan Wheldon qualified ninth, and will clinch his first IndyCar Series championship when he starts Sunday’s 60-lap race.
Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda) second fastest in practice, winner earlier this year on the road course at Infineon Raceway:
“After single-car qualifying, We decided to try something different and go for the pole. But instead of moving up, the changes dropped us back a couple of positions. But we do have a good car for the race tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to adding another road course win. We'll see what happens.”