Defending race winner and 2006 IndyCar Series championship runner-up Dan Wheldon started his 2007 season in fine form Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, taking the pole for Saturday’s XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 by the extremely narrow margin of just three-thousandths of a second over defending series champion Sam Hornish Jr.
Perhaps indicating a return to their championship-winning form of 2004 and ’05, Andretti Green Racing placed three of its drivers in the top five starting positions, led by Dario Franchitti in third, followed by 2004 title winner Tony Kanaan and third-generation racer Marco Andretti.
Wheldon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, 2003 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, will start sixth in the 20-car field. Scott Sharp made a strong debut for his new Rahal Letterman Racing team by qualifying in seventh, followed by Helio Castroneves in the second Team Penske entry. Two other fan favorites, Sarah Fisher and A.J. Foyt IV, rounded out the top ten.
Saturday night’s 200-lap event, opening round of the 17-race 2007 IndyCar season, starts at 8 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN2.
Dan Wheldon (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) pole qualifier today, his fifth IndyCar career
“It’s still very early days in the season, but taking the pole here still feels very, very good. The car was very quick right off the trailer this morning, and the Honda engine was powerful and reliable as always. The whole day went well for us, and it certainly helps us getting off to such a strong start after the frustration of last season when we came so close to winning the championship. The team has worked very hard to apply what we learned last year, and a lot of credit goes to everyone back at the shop and at Honda. I think we’re in pretty good shape for the race, but I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.”