Franchitti to Start First in Milwaukee

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti tied Al Unser for seventh on the all-time list with 27 poles. (Photo: Getty Images)

Dario Franchitti will start from the pole for the second consecutive year at the Milwaukee Mile after recording a two-lap average speed of 168.737 mph (43.3100 seconds) for Saturday's Milwaukee IndyFest.

Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Cottonelle car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, tied Al Unser for seventh on the all-time list with 27 poles.

"I am very pleased as much as I am surprised," Franchitti said. "That's quite a turnaround from practice. Practice is one thing, qualifying is another and then there is the race. For as warm as it it people are fighting the car and everyone wants the same line. I expect tomorrow is going to be tough, especially at the end of a full-stint on those Firestone tires.

"It's going to be a long exciting day tomorrow and hopefully the Cottonelle car will be up front at the end of the afternoon. This is always an interesting track and we'll see if we can get it done."

Franchitti, who posted the quickest lap of the session at 169.156 mph, could make a significant advancement in the championship standings with his second consecutive victory at the historic track as seven drivers will incur 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes -- including front-runner Will Power and teammate Scott Dixon. Franchitti will enter the 225-lap race 63 points behind Power.

Among the others receiving the grid penalty is Justin Wilson, who followed his first oval victory June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway with a front-row qualifying effort in the No. 18 Sonny's BBQ car for Dale Coyne Racing. His spot will be taken by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport (167.911 mph).

Power qualified fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, but will relinquish that position to Rubens Barrichello, who is making his debut at Milwaukee in No. 8 BMC/Embrase/KV Racing Technology car. He'll be joined on Row 2 by Helio Castroneves (166.763) in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car.

KV Racing Technology teammates E.J. Viso and Tony Kanaan will share Row 3.

Notes

  • This is Dario Franchitti's first pole of 2012 and his second-consecutive pole at The Milwaukee Mile. It is 27th pole of Franchitti's Indy car career and his first pole since New Hampshire in 2011, a span of 12 races.
  • Justin Wilson qualified second, his best qualifying performance at Milwaukee. His previous best qualifying effort was third in the Champ Car race in 2005.
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified third, his best start at Milwaukee since he won the pole for the Champ Car race in 2004.
  • Will Power qualified fourth, his third top-five qualifying effort in four races at The Milwaukee Mile.
  • Rubens Barrichello qualified fifth, his first top-five start in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

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