One of the first qualifiers Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway, IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti posted an average speed of 214.646 mph around the 1.5-mile high-banked speedway in Joliet, Illinois, then watched as one after another of his rivals tried, and failed, to budge the Andretti Green Racing driver from his fourth pole of the season.
Franchitti will start five spots ahead of his nearest championship competitor as Scott Dixon ran 214.217 mph during his single-car qualifying run. The top six cars all qualified within one tenth of a second of Franchitti's pole. Dixon is just three points back, with a maximum of 53 points on the table in Sunday's final race of the season.
Franchitti's teammate, and the remaining title contender, Tony Kanaan will start fourth. Kanaan is currently third in the standings, 39 points behind Franchitti. Although no longer in the championship fight, Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves remain potential race winners, qualifying second and third, respectively.
Sunday's 200-lap Peak Antifreeze Indy 300, the 17th and final event of the season, will determine the 2007 IndyCar Series Championship. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.
Dario Franchitti (#27 Andretti Green Racing) pole qualifier, fourth pole of 2007, sixth career IndyCar pole, IndyCar Series championship leader by three points over Scott Dixon:
“My day started off very well, the car was fast from the very first run onward. So the speed was there and the balance was good, too. It looked like the track slowed up quite a bit for qualifying [following an ARCA stock car race], but our speed held up and it's great to be starting the final race up front. Now, the trick will be to stay up front in the race tomorrow, with all the pit stops, strategy, traffic and all that. For the fans, this is a phenomenal place, it puts on some great shows. But for us, it's hard work. Scott [Dixon] is as tough as anyone out there, so it's going to be a tough fight.”