Kanaan On Pole At Kentucky
August 10, 2007 | 6:29 P.M. EST
Just five days after winning the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Kanaan withstood late challenges from Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon to take the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award for Saturday night’s Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway with a fast lap of 218.086 mph.
It is the eighth career pole for the Brazilian driver of the No. 11 7-Eleven Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing, who also led the final practice earlier today. He will be looking to record his first career victory on the 1.5-mile tri-oval this weekend, as he has a career best finish of fifth (twice) in four visits to Kentucky.
Franchitti, the championship leader coming into the weekend, will start alongside his teammate Kanaan after running a top lap of 216.810 mph.
"The car was really good straight off the truck," Franchitti said. "As Tony (Kanaan) said, we worked together. He may have taken a bit of my car, but this weekend I took a bit of his as well. It definitely helped us. We've got good balance with the car on our own, in traffic. I think the car is quite quick. Maybe not as quick as his, but it's very, very strong. I'm just happy with that."
A surging Scott Sharp, Dixon and Dan Wheldon round out the top five starting positions.
Defending race winner Sam Hornish Jr. will start seventh while his Penske Racing teammate, and last year’s polesitter, Helio Castroneves will start the 200 lap event from 13th.
For Castroneves, today’s result snaps a 29-race streak of top-10 starting positions.
"Obviously, we didn't qualify where we wanted to this afternoon," Castroneves said. "Team Penske has tried everything we can, and just can't seem to find the speed. Hopefully number thirteen will be lucky for us tomorrow.
"It's a new day, and we just have to come back out and see if we can get it done during the race."
Although the front of the grid is top heavy with Andretti Green machines, the team also has two disappointments on Friday as Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti qualified 11th and 15th respectively.
Saturday’s Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway, race 14 of 17 this season, is scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 6:30 p.m. (ET). Coverage of the 400-mile event will be available on ESPN2 (TV), the IMS Radio network and XM Satellite Radio.