FRANCHITTI TAKES THE POLE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
By Dave Lewandowski, IndyCar.com
LOUDON, N.H. -- Dario Franchitti says the car set-up for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway is most closely aligned with The Milwaukee Mile – give or take a few degrees of banking in the turns – on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
He's more familiar with the latter, most recently winning the IZOD IndyCar Series race from the pole in June in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. He competed on the former -- a 1.025-mile, variably banked oval -- in 2007 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.
Even that modicum of familiarity, plus the three practice sessions this weekend, will be an assist in the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 on Aug. 14. Starting up front also helps.
The 20th qualifier, Franchitti recorded a two-lap combined time of 43.1976 seconds and an average speed of 170.843 mph to secure his second PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season. His second lap (21.5968 seconds) was a one-lap IZOD IndyCar Series track record. The series last raced at the speedway in 1998, when it was even closer to Milwaukee’s configuration.
It was Franchitti's 26th Indy car pole, overtaking Paul Tracy for ninth on the all-time list.
"The run itself, it was the first time I've been wide open at both ends," said Franchitti, who has three victories and 12 top-five finishes in 28 starts on one-mile ovals (winning at Pikes Peak in 2004 plus Milwaukee in 2004 and '11). "The Target boys did a good job this morning and the driver did something, too."
Four different teams are represented in the top five.
Oriol Servia, driving the No. 2 Telemundo car for Newman/Haas Racing, will start a season-high second (169.831 mph average). Tony Kanaan tied his season high in the No. 82 GEICO-KV Racing Technology-Lotus car and will start on the inside of Row 2 next to rookie James Hinchcliffe in the No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing car, who also posted a season best.
Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fifth in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport. Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske will start sixth.