Castroneves Saves Best For Last

Helio Castroneves waited until the final minute of Firestone Fast Six qualifying to leapfrog past Dario Franchitti and capture the pole for Sunday’s Detroit Indy Grand Prix.

Third fastest in single-car qualifying, Castroneves ran a lap of 1:12.0688, 103.401 mph, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda Dallara to win his seventh pole of the IndyCar Series season. The popular Brazilian broke Billy Boat's nine-year-old record for most poles in a season, and upped his career record total to 23.

Starting on the outside of the front row will be Dario Franchitti, who ran the fastest lap in single-car qualifying on the 2.906-mile temporary circuit on Belle Isle, and then bettered his speed with a lap of 1:12.1430, 103.295 mph in the Andretti Green Racing No. 27 Canadian Club Honda, to start from the outside of the front row.

Franchitti enters the penultimate round of the IndyCar Series season trailing Scott Dixon by four points. Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi entry, was fourth in single-car qualifying but moved up to third with a lap of 102.669 mph in the shootout.

Tony Kanaan, one of two drivers not to improve in the Firestone Fast Six, dropped from second to start fourth with a lap of 102.299 mph in the Andretti Green No. 7 Team 7-Eleven car.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving Rahal Letterman Racing’s No. 17 Team Ethanol entry, leapfrogged past Marco Andretti to start fifth, 101.604 mph. Andretti, driving the No. 26 NYSE Honda, starts sixth with a lap of 101.548 mph from the single-car session.

Sam Hornish Jr. led the drivers missing the Firestone Fast Six with a lap of 101.219 mph in the No. 6 Penske Racing entry. Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Darren Manning, Tomas Scheckter and Vitor Meira.

Dan Wheldon continues to struggle on temporary circuits. After starting 14th at St. Petersburg early this season, he could only manage 16th-fastest Saturday with a lap of 98.235 mph in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi entry. Only Scott Sharp and Sarah Fisher were slower. Ironically, Wheldon won the first IndyCar Series race on a road circuit at St. Petersburg in 2005, when he was driving for Andretti Green Racing.

The race takes the green flag Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and will be shown live on ABC.

Following Sunday’s race, only the September 9 finale at Chicagoland Speedway remains on the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule.

Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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