Saturday, 02 October 2010 03:00
Page 1 of 3Dario Franchitti will start the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 with an 11 point deficit in the championship standings at the Homestead Miami Speedway.
Franchitti bumped Will Power, his lone title rival, from the provisional pole and earned his second PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season with a two lap average of 213.187 mph.
More importantly, Franchitti, who entered the weekend trailing Power by 12 points, earned a crucial bonus point for the taking the pole.
Power, who had a two lap average of 212.580 mph in the #12 Verizon Team Penske car, will start third. He was bumped off the front row by Franchitti's team-mate, Scott Dixon (212.908).
Dixon is joined on Row 2 by Team Penske team-mate Ryan Briscoe (212.158). National Guard Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon (211.933) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson (211.630) will share Row 3.
Panther/Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter (211.444) and Andretti Autosport's Tony Kanaan (211.392) will be on Row 4.
IZOD IndyCar Series drivers will have 20 opportunities to use the Honda overtake assist in the 200 lap Cafes do Brasil on Saturday night on the 1.5 mile oval, each assist has a 12 second duration.
The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration and is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 rpm, about 10 horsepower, to the Honda Indy V8 engine.
Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout with a 10 second recharge period between uses.
One overtake assist will be activated for the final practice session.
Firestone Racing is supplying championship ring Firehawk tyres, special white walls to help fans identify the cars of title contenders Dario Franchitti and Will Power, for the race Saturday night.
Firestone Racing is supplying Sarah Fisher Racing's entry with pink side wall tyres to show its support for the team owner/driver's "On Track for a Cause" breast cancer awareness initiative this weekend.
Fisher's #67 Dollar General entry is all pink, and she will wear a pink themed helmet designed by a fan through an online vote and to further its support of the cause, Dollar General is donating $25,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Each entry receives eight sets, 32 total tyres, for the race weekend, this tyre specification is making its third race appearance of 2010.
Developed in tyre testing at Chicagoland Speedway in June, this Firehawk tyre combination has received universal praise from teams and drivers for its performance at the Chicagoland and Kentucky Speedway races in the past five weeks.
RICK DREILING (CEO and chairman, Dollar General):
"We are inspired by many of our employees, customers and friends who have been affected by this disease. Together, we hope to raise awareness and increase funding to find cures."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi met the media this morning. TCGR driver Dario Franchitti is 12 points behind points leader Will Power entering the season finale this weekend.
This is the fifth consecutive season the IZOD IndyCar Series championship has been decided at the final race of the season, and Ganassi's team has featured at least one driver in the title bout in all five years.
"That's what we're here to do. We're here to win the championship. This business doesn't mean anything if you don't want to come here to win. If you don't want to win, I don't know why you're there. We're fortunate to have a great group of sponsors and people who work for us. We're in this sport for weekends like this. We're in this sport for competition like this."
(Does your experience in these championship fights give you an edge this weekend):
"I think we have an edge. I look back to where we were a year ago coming into this race, where nobody gave Dario a shot at winning the championship last year. It was Dixon or Briscoe. We were back there on another strategy that worked out. Coming into this situation, the pressure is off us. It's very hard to do what our competitors have to do, which is maintain. It's very hard to do as a race driver. While I'd rather not have a 12 points deficit on our side, I like our position better. I think we have the driver and the team to do what we need to do."
(About Franchitti's experience in tight points races):
"I think it's his sort of a "been there, done that" kind of thing. He's been in these situations before. The first time I saw or heard of Dario Franchitti was in Toronto when he was driving for Carl Hogan. I had two young upstarts named Vasser and Zanardi. He knows what he has coming in; he knows where he can take his equipment, how hard he can push his car. The people around him, his crew chief, they're all seasoned people in the sport who have won championships before. They can clearly see the goalpost and they know where the out of bounds are on the left side and right side, and they've got to keep their eye on the goalposts this weekend."
(Is Franchitti's crew the same this weekend? Penske has made changes to Power's crew down the stretch.):
"We put that together before season started. We feel pretty good about that. We've had the same guys since the season started. We feel good about our guys. We need to have solid stops during the race, and if you're going to have any theatrics, you want to wait for the money stop, which is the last one."
(About Franchitti's place in history if he wins his third championship Saturday):
"I think his name already is in the all timers. I think it should be if it's not. What was nice was last year after coming off the NASCAR thing, the experiment there, he's among the all time greats with his Indianapolis accomplishments and his championships. Having won Indianapolis this year in the fashion he did was certainly rewarding to him. It was rewarding to me, so I hope it was for him. Coming into this championship, I think he has all the tools he needs. This will be just one more feather in his cap."
(Are you surprised Will Power has kept his points lead all season?):
"I will say at the beginning of the year we didn't think we would be racing him for the championship. I thought it would be one of those other Penske cars. Now that we're down to the last three or four races, that surprise has worn off."
A.J. Foyt offered his congratulations to Dario Franchitti for his season's body of work, especially his results on ovals and the Foyt formally presented Franchitti the A.J. Foyt Oval Championship Trophy today at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Franchitti clinched the inaugural award with a runner up finish in the Indy Japan 300 on September 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. Foyt didn't make the trip to Japan.
Franchitti posted two oval victories, Indianapolis 500 and Chicagoland Speedway, and four other top five finishes. He enters the season finale with an opportunity to earn his record tying third IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
Four time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt is the all time Indy car racing winner with 67 victories.
"He's a super guy and a hard racer. It's great to see someone with his talent win the deal because he deserved it."
"The A.J. Foyt Trophy, I'm proud of that. I'm a bit surprised. When I first came over here, I really struggled on the ovals. So that's pretty cool. It's a great accomplishment to share with my team."
POST QUALIFYING QUICK QUOTES:
"This is the moment of truth. My car was pretty good. I don't know what else we could have done. We've had an awesome season at Verizon Team Penske, and without a great third quarter, we wouldn't be in the position we're in, winner of the Mario Andretti Road Course Championship and battling for the overall IZOD IndyCar Series title."
"I don't know what (crew chief) Chris Simmons did to the Target car between practice and now, but that thing was beautifully balanced.
(After first timed lap):
"It felt like a good lap, and I looked down and saw 213 and said: 'Oh, nice. Let's see if we can not screw up the second lap.' I felt it; I was able to take the line I wanted. Now I can relax a little."
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
• Dario Franchitti trimmed Will Power's lead to 11 points by earning one point for the Peak Performance Pole today.
• Will Power was voted as Driver of the Year for the third quarter of 2010 by a panel of 20 motorsports journalists. He edged NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
• Dario Franchitti earned his second PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season. He also won the pole for the season opening race at Sao Paulo.
• Both of Dario Franchitti's victories on ovals this season have come from the front row. He won the Indianapolis 500 from the third starting position and at Chicagoland from second.
• Dario Franchitti won his 13th career IZOD IndyCar Series pole position.
• Dario Franchitti won this event from the pole in 2009 to clinch his second IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
• Dario Franchitti won the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway from the pole to clinch his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
• This is the second pole of the season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, both won by Dario Franchitti.
• This is the 30th pole for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
• Scott Dixon equalled his season best by qualifying second. He also started second at Kansas and Iowa, both ovals.
• Justin Wilson qualified sixth, his career best on an oval in the IZOD IndyCar Series. His previous best was eighth in 2009 at Kentucky.
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING RESULTS:
||Simona de Silvestro