Kanaan Rockets to Las Vegas Pole
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on October 14, 2011 | 7:24 P.M. EST
Kanaan earned his 15th career pole. (Photo: IndyCar)
Tony Kanaan topped the large field of entries to earn the pole for the IZOD IndyCar World Championship season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Kanaan was the second to last of the 32 drivers to take time on Friday and posted a two-lap average of 222.078 to earn his first pole of the season. It was the 15th of his IZOD IndyCar Series career and Kanaan became the seventh different pole winner this season.
"It feels awesome," said Kanaan, who took his last pole at Richmond in 2008. "I guess I’ve got to do more Ironmans on my weekends off. I can’t thank the GEICO-KV guys enough. We had such an awful race at Kentucky that we needed to turn it around. They went back to the shop to massage that car as much as they could and it paid off."
Oriol Servia, Kentucky race winner Ed Carpenter, Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the first five qualifiers.
Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick and Mike Conway completed the top 10.
Dario Franchitti leads Will Power by 19 points heading into Sunday’s last race of the season and the two title contenders will start side-by-side in the 17th and 18th positions.
"Speed means so much at this track and we're still just trying to get more out of the Verizon car," Power said. "That's definitely not the result we wanted out of qualifying but we know that this is going to be a pack race and hopefully we can use that to our advantage and move forward.
"We need to win and we have some time between now and then to make sure we are getting the most out of the car."
Dan Wheldon, who will split $5 million with Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge sweepstakes winner Ann Babenco of New Jersey if he can win the race from the rear of the 34-car field, turned the 29th fastest time with a two-lap average of 218.410 mph.
E.J. Viso did not attempt a lap after serving a penalty for an unapproved engine change after Thursday’s practice session and James Jakes also did not participate in qualifying after a practice crash earlier in the day.
Sunday’s IZOD Indy Car World Championship is slated for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) green flag.