For the second year in a row, the Marlboro Team Penske duo of Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.dominated IndyCar Series qualifying Saturday at The Milwauke Mile, with Castroneves taking his fourthpole of the 2006 season, but the first not awarded on the basis of practice speeds or points standings.
Castroneves posted an average speed of 172.477 mph around the famed one-mile oval to edge teammate Hornish by just over a hundredth of a second. Castroneves also started from the pole at TwinRing Motegi, Watkins Glen and Richmond, but in all three cases qualifying was canceled due to rain. At Motegi, where rain washed out both practice and qualifying, Castroneves started first due to his leading the IndyCar championship standings at the time; at “the Glen” and Richmond, practice speeds were used to set the starting field.
In 2005, Hornish qualified on the pole here in Milwaukee, going on to win the event, while Castoneves started second, but was eliminated after a mid-race brush with his teammate and contact with the wall.
Rookie points leader Marco Andretti qualified third, just ahead of one of his Andretti Green teammates, 2004 series champion Tony Kanaan, with Panther Racing’s Vitor Meira rounding out the top five.
Sunday’s 225-mile event, the 10th round of the 14-race 2006 IndyCar season, starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN.
Robert Clarke (president, Honda Performance Development)On qualifying today:
“From aperformance and reliability standpoint, it’s been another excellent weekend for the Honda Indy V-8 engine, and I think we’ll see an excellent short track race on Sunday. Our congratulations to HelioCastroneves, Sam Hornish Jr. and the entire Marlboro Team Penske operation for a standout
performance in qualifying today.”