Two-time Indianapolis 500 Champion, HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske has the pole for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 at The Brickyard with a time of 224.864 mph. He turned it late in the afternoon on his second try, after sitting in third place. He bumped his teammate, RYAN BRISCOE/No.6, who made another run at it with six minutes to the final gun but still ended up second. Rounding out the front row is 2007 Indy 500 and Indy Racing League Champion, DARIO FRANCHITTI/No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
The speeds were lower than in practice, which in part at least was attributed to the fierce winds. Firestone engineers estimated them to be 15 mph gusting to 29 mph. Seemed stronger than that. And the 64F temperature certainly felt cooler.
TONY KANAAN/No.11 T Andretti Green Racing took a second run after his first had been disallowed due to being underweight. He ended up sixth, better than his disqualified eighth place run.
Seven drivers withdrew their times: Briscoe; MARIO MORAES/No.5 KV Racing Technology; SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing; MARCO ANDRETTI/No.26 Andretti Green Racing; GRAHAM RAHAL/No.02 Newman Haas Lanigan Racing; Castroneves; and DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Andretti Green Racing.
Five drivers were bumped or didn’t make it: HIDEKI MUTOH/No.27 Andretti Green Racing; PAUL TRACY/No.15 KV Racing Technology; ED CARPENTER/No.20 Vision Racing; Rookie RAPHAEL MATOS/No.2 Luczo Dragon Racing; and JUSTIN WILSON/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing, after his first time had been disallowed due to technical infraction.
Tracy must have felt like a yo-yo, being on and off the bubble half the afternoon. Drivers kept running again and/or withdrawing their times. He gave up trying to worry about it and went to the Chris Economaki Interview Room in the Media Center with thirty minutes to go. Tracy ended up bumped. One of the reasons he felt he didn’t go faster was that he had a very limited budget for tires and ran on old tires.
To clarify the loose wheel problem for ROBERT DOORNBOS/No.06 Newman Haas Lanigan Racing on Friday: the tether held the wheel on the car, as intended. What was loose on track was just the tire.
Sunday’s schedule calls for an hour-long Indy 500 practice starting at 10:15 am EDT, with another six hour qualifying session starting at noon to seat the second 11 drivers.
POLE DAY RESULTS
POS No. DRIVER/Team
1 3 HELIO CASTRONEVES/Team Penske
2 6 RYAN BRISCOE/Team Penske
3 10 DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing
4 02 GRAHAM RAHAL/Newman Haas Lanigan Racing
5 9 SCOTT DIXON/Target Chip Ganassi Racing
6 11T TONY KANAAN/Andretti Green Racing
7 5 MARIO MORAES/KV Racing Technology
8 26 MARCO ANDRETTI/Andretti Green Racing
9 12 WILL POWER/Penske Racing
10 7 DANICA PATRICK/Andretti Green Racing
11 99 ALEX LLOYD/Chip Ganassi Racing Sam Schmidt Motorsports