Helio Castroneves added to his series-leading collection of poles Saturday at The Milwaukee Mile, posting the fastest qualifying speed for the fourth time this season and the 20th IndyCar Series pole of his career. The pole winner for last weekend’s Indianapolis 500, Castroneves also was fast qualifier this year at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and at the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan.
Scott Dixon posted his best qualifying effort of 2007 to start on the outside of the front row, in second, with defending race winner Tony Kanaan third and Dan Weldon rounding out the first two starting rows in fourth.
Sam Hornish Jr. will start his Team Penske entry from fifth, followed by a trio of drivers who all turned in their best qualifying performances of the season: Kosuke Matsuura in sixth, Buddy Rice in seventh and Ed Carpenter in eighth. Vitor Meira will start ninth for Panther Racing while Dario Franchitti, last week’s Indianapolis 500 champion, completes the top 10 qualifiers.
In the only incident of the day, Jeff Simmons crashed without injury in the second practice session, but missed qualifying as a result. He will start his repaired Rahal Letterman Racing Honda from the back of the field in 18th. Sunday’s 225-lap event starts at 4 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) pole qualifier, series-leading fourth pole of 2007, 20th career IndyCar pole, third consecutive pole at Milwaukee for Team Penske:
“It’s funny. Because of the tight, two-day schedule, this morning we made the decision to focus only on the race setup, and forget about qualifying. But the car was very good right away in race conditions, so we changed our minds and started to look at qualifying. The changes we made [for qualifying] worked well and again, the car was really, really good. I think it also helped us to make our [qualifying] run early, as I think the track lost a little speed later on. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow. This is such a difficult track, and can change so quickly, but I’m going to give it my best.”