Coming off last week's victory at Iowa Speedway, Dario Franchitti continues to be the man to beat on short ovals in the IndyCar Series, having qualified on the pole Friday for Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge at the three-quarter-mile Richmond International Raceway.
Franchitti, who finished third at The Milwaukee Mile in May in addition to his Iowa victory, will be joined on the front row by his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, in second. Team Penske makes up the second row of the starting grid, with Helio Castroneves starting third and Ryan Briscoe fourth.
Behind those first two rows, however, the normal established order is shaken up. Graham Rahal posted the fifth-fastest qualifying run in his McDonald's Newman Haas Lanigan Racing Honda, followed by rookie Raphael Matos and E.J. Viso, starting seventh after his best qualifying run since starting fourth at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti, who qualified 1-2 here last year, had disappointing days with Andretti posting the 16th fastest time and Kanaan, 17th fastest.
Saturday's 300-lap race, the third and final short-oval event of the 2009 IndyCar season, starts at 8 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on Versus.
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) pole qualifier:
“Starting up front on a short track like this one is real important, absolutely. Both Target cars are up front, so that's good. The car was pretty good this morning; we did a couple of qualifying 'sims' this morning that went well. The car was fast, and we got the job done. The field is so close once again, and with the race starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, traffic will probably be a factor. It should be an interesting race.”