Castroneves Tops Qualifying

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LEXINGTON, Ohio - Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will start on the front row for the start of Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Castroneves won the pole position Saturday by recording a lap of 1 minute 7.2480 seconds in the No. 3 Team Penske Honda/Dallara around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. It will be the 175th time a Penske open-wheel car will start first in a race and the 27th pole in Castroneves' IndyCar career. It's also his second in a row - he won the pole the previous week at Nashville Superspeedway.

"It was a great battle between Ryan and I," said Castroneves, who also won the pole at the 2007 event. "This morning we were talking about what a great chance we had to start on the front row with both cars, and we did it. It was a tough battle."

Castroneves continues to battle for the series championship with leader Scott Dixon, who will start sixth in Sunday's race. Castroneves is just 63 points behind Dixon after 11 races this season and he expects Sunday's race to be crucial in his championship chances. "We're going to try everything we can," said Castroneves. "Scott is a great road racer, but this race is all about strategy."

Castroneves may have secured the No. 1 starting position, but Briscoe gave him a run for it. The No. 6 Team Penske Honda/Dallara recorded a lap of 1:07.2657, good enough to start on the front row next to Castroneves.

"It was hard-fought, as usual," said Briscoe. "You have to hang it out there. I thought we had a really good day - the car was handling well and it was so close. You can definitely see our Team Penske cars are very strong here."

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio will air live on Sunday, July 20, at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC and will be broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.

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