Dario Franchitti and his Andretti Green Racing team were untouchable in qualifying Saturday for the season-ending Indy Racing League event at California Speedway. The Honda-powered driver posted a new lap record speed of 219.398 mph, besting early pace-setter Tomas Scheckter to secure his first pole of 2005 and second career IndyCar pole.
Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice were the next-quickest Honda drivers, qualifying fourth and fifth, respectively. Recently crowned series champion Dan Wheldon will line up seventh for Sunday’s 400-mile race, with Andretti Green teammate Bryan Herta alongside in eighth. Scott Sharp will start ninth for Delphi Fernandez Racing, with Tony Kanaan placing the fourth AGR entry in 10th.
Kosuke Matsuura posted the 12th fastest speed for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, while Vitor Meira will start 13th in the third Rahal Letterman entry. Roger Yasukawa will start 20th for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, but rookie teammate Thiago Medeiros had his IndyCar debut spoiled by a crash in the second practice session. Although uninjured in the crash, he was unable to make a qualifying run due to damage to his car.
Dario Franchitti (#27 Arca/Ex Andretti Green Racing Honda) pole qualifier, his first pole of 2005,
league-leading eighth Honda pole:
“On these bigger tracks, a lot of your qualifying performance is dependent on your engine, and your engineers. And today, our [chassis] engineers got the balance of the car just right and the Honda engine was incredibly strong. So the driver’s job was relatively easy! I think the race tomorrow is when we’ll earn our money, but I’m looking forward to it.”