Strategy puts Franchitti on Sonoma Pole

Racing is all about taking risks, and when you have nothing to lose, sometimes you just have to do it. In the second session in qualifying, Dario Franchitti strapped on Firestone Reds, as most of the teams do in order to get the best lap on the softer compound. The only difference he had was he took on scuffs which already had the newness knocked out of them and could have hurt his lap time. The gamble paid off and Franchitti made it into the Firestone Fast Six and to his advantage had one more set of Reds than his competitors during the session and took the pole with a lap of 1:17.5271. This marks Franchitti’s 4th pole of 2013 and 33rd of his illustrious career and putting him 6th on the all time list passing former team owner Michael Andretti.

(In Q1) “We just did the one lap on the Reds and it was a pretty good time, so they pulled me and we felt there’s still a lot of good left on the tires so we put them on for the second run, and the car was good again and I managed to make a couple of mistake, actually,” said Franchitti.

“So still was surprised to be as close to the guys on the new Reds.  Then we had the new Reds on for the Firestone Fast Six, which is just as well, because I did a good job on 10 and 11 corners, and royally screwed up turn 6 in both laps.  Luckily I had the advantage in the other corners to make it.”

His Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon qualified in 2nd making it a Ganassi 1-2 and is in good position to pick up some valuable championship points on Helio Castroneves.

“Yeah, we are just trying to focus on doing what we try to do each weekend, and that’s try and win the race,” said Dixon. “If we can do that, then that will help us a lot for the championship.”

The 1-2 result for Target Chip Ganassi Racing is a bright spot in what has been a rough week for the Ganassi Racing community as Chip’s father Floyd passed away earlier this week.

Castroneves’ teammate and winner of the last 3 poles at Sonoma Will Power posted the 3rd fastest time. The other championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified in the 4th position and was the only Andretti Autosport car that made it into the Firestone Fast Six. Castroneves rounds out the top 5 and Charlie Kimball continues his hot streak making it 3 Ganassi cars in the top 6 with a 6th place run.

Also of note, JR Hildebrand in his return to IndyCar Racing qualified in 18th driving for Barracuda Racing. In his IZOD IndyCar Series debut, Lucas Luhr struggled in his #97 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda powered car and will start in the 25th position.

“Generally I have to say that I think we overall made improvements and got at least a little bit closer, but still not there,” said Luhr. “It’s difficult. It’s the first time for me qualifying and then experiencing the reds so you have no idea how much more grip there is and how much you can use and you really only get one shot at it. I think now that we have the practices and everything out of the way I just am looking forward to the race. I’m looking forward to getting into race mode.”

Starting Lineup

  1. Dario Franchitti
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Will Power
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  5. Helio Castroneves
  6. Charlie Kimball
  7. Justin Wilson
  8. Graham Rahal
  9. James Hinchcliffe
  10. Simon Pagenaud
  11. Marco Andretti
  12. Sebastien Bourdais
  13. Takuma Sato
  14. Tristan Vautier
  15. E.J. Viso
  16. Tony Kanaan
  17. Josef Newgarden
  18. JR Hildebrand
  19. James Jakes
  20. Sebastian Saavedra
  21. James Davison
  22. Ryan Briscoe
  23. Simona de Silvestro
  24. Ed Carpenter
  25. Lucas Luhr
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