Nazareth Pole To Dixon
August 23, 2003 | 11:30 A.M. EST
Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force, lapped the 1-mile oval in 19.6633 seconds and a speed of 171.182 mph.
With five MBNA Poles this season, Dixon is just one shy of the season record set by Billy Boat when he earned six MBNA Poles in 1998.
“This team has been great, and we've been able to qualify really well all season,” Dixon said. “All of this hard work pays off for everybody in the shop, and this is just great for the team.
Everything is jelling well for us, and we need to keep focus.
“Championships aren't easy to win, but I think if we keep doing what we've been doing all year and try to win races, we'll be all right.”
With four races remaining on the 16-race schedule, Dixon is third in the point standings just 12 points behind leader Tony Kanaan.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will start second in the 225-mile race. He posted a lap of 19.7016, 170.849 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara.
Points leader Kanaan was third at 19.7699, 170.259 in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara.
“It was a wild one,” Kanaan said. “I tried really hard to get the pole. My last lap I was really close to the wall, but the whole Team 7-Eleven worked really hard to get us to this point, and we're looking forward to tomorrow. The most important thing is that we gave it our best and that we're close enough to the front. Now, we'll wait for tomorrow.”
Dixon’s teammate, Tomas Scheckter, qualified fourth at 19.7885, 170.099 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Panoz G Force, while Andretti Green Racing driver Bryan Herta rounded out the top five at 19.9037, 169.114 9 in his No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara.
The Firestone Indy 225 starts at 3 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 24 and will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network.