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Franchitti On Pole for INDYCAR Milwaukee IndyFest


Dario Franchitti - Courtesy INDYCAR/LAT USA

Dario Franchitti - Courtesy INDYCAR/LAT USA

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After being nowhere near the top of the field during practice for the Milwaukee IndyFest IZOD IndyCar Series race on the famed Milwaukee Mile, Dario Franchitti's No. 10 Team Target squad met with teammate Scott Dixon's crew to see if they could find a way to make the Scot more competitive.

Whatever they decided, it worked and Franchitti earned his second straight pole position with his Dallara/Honda/Firestone Indy car at an average speed of 168.737 mph in single car qualifying.

With his first 2012 pole position, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner tied Al Unser for seventh on the all-time list with 27 fast-qualifier achievements.

Franchitti is the defending winner of this race and could make up valuable points if able to repeat on the tough, flat oval circuit.

"I am very pleased as much as I am surprised. That's quite a turnaround from practice," Franchitti admitted. "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 (new) Firestone tires," he commented. 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."

There are seven drivers incurring 10-spot penalties for unapproved engine changes at this race which makes any telling of the grid quite tricky, as there could be changes prior to taking the grid for the afternoon contest. Last week's winner, Justin Wilson (Honda) was second-quick but moves 10 spots back, while Ryan Hunter-Reay (who led every lap during his 2004 Champ Car winning effort at this track) moves up to second.

Hunter-Reay admitted he was "all over the sixth-gear limiter on our last lap (in qualifying) or we would have ben quick enough for pole. We couldn't have predicted we would be that quick though; it's the quickest we've been all weekend."

Justin Wilson - Courtesy INDYCAR/LAT USA

Justin Wilson - Courtesy INDYCAR/LAT USA

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Wilson's Texas oval win boosted his confidence coming into Milwaukee.

"I feel like we've made progress in understanding this car and what it's looking for, so we'll keep chipping away at it and making the car better and better," he said.

Will Power is subject to a 10-spot grid penalty with his Team Penske Chevy-powered car, moving rookie Rubens Barrichello (Chevy), who qualified fifth up to third place for his best INDYCAR start thus far.

Confused yet? It gets even more convoluted. Helio Castroneves qualified his Penske Chevy in sixth place but starts fourth, while KV Racing Technology's EJ Viso (Chevy) moves from eighth to fifth, with teammate Tony Kanaan (10th quickest) in sixth.

The balance of the top 10 are impressive rookie Simon Pagenaud (Honda), James Hinchcliffe (Chevy), Marco Andretti (Chevy and up from 15th) and JR Hildebrand's Chevy car, which moved from 16th to 10th.

Beyond Wilson (12th) and Power (14th), those moving rearward are Josef Newgarden (7th to 17th), Ryan Briscoe (9th to 19th), Scott Dixon (11th to 21st), Takuma Sato (14th to 24th) and Mike Conway, who remains 25th.

The Milwaukee Mile's IndyFest, a 225-lap race takes the green flags at 1:30 this afternoon with live coverage on ABC.
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