Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dario Franchitti takes Pivotal Pole for IZOD IndyCar Finale at Homestead

Photo Credit: Dana Garrett

Arriving at the 1.5 mile oval of Homestead-Miami Speedway, North America's top open wheel series sets for a late Saturday night running of a 300-mile event.With 27 cars running in this finale round of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the cars of Will Power and Dario Franchitti are likely to dominate the spectator's focus of the 200-lap distance.

Concluding what has been a memorable 2010 season, the final race of this year's IZOD IndyCar Series season will resolve whether two-time and reigning series champion Dario Franchitti will pull off another 'come from behind' points victory. Franchitti also claimed the single championship point which closes the Scot to only 11 markers to the Australian Will Power. Both previous championships, Dario Franchitti was lacking behind other drivers heading into the last round of the IndyCar championship. In 2007 driving for Andretti-Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport), Franchitti won the title on the final lap of the final corner at Chicagoland Speedway as then-leader Scott Dixon ran out of fuel. Last year, a crash by Ryan Briscoe in Japan gave another opening for Franchitti now with Target-Chip Ganassi Racing. Through pit stop strategy at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Franchitti found himself again the champion.

While Dario Franchitti's #10 car took top spot in qualifying with a 213.187 MPH average speed, Target-Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon positioned himself into 2nd place. Helpful to his Scottish teammate starting on the front row with a trust-worthy competitor, Dixon holds Will Power one more position at bay. Building more confidence on ovals, Australian Will Power qualified 3rd for the IZOD IndyCar Saturday finale. Even though he continues to sit in the lead of the 2010 championship into the last race, Power is finding himself surprisingly an underdog after a sensational first full season effort with Penske Racing.

Penske Racing #6 car of Ryan Briscoe accompanies his teammate in the second row off the start of the Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300. In 5th, Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon once again quests for another top oval finish backed up by the final time this season by teammate Ed Carpentier in 7th place. When the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to the ovals, Panther Racing has found themselves a close competitor to the Penske/Chip Ganassi superteam bunching providing someone outside of the Andretti Autosport camp to see as a spoiler. Also showing flashes of brilliance this season has been the #22 car of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing piloted by Justin Wilson. However, following the spin-out during the Honda Indy Toronto, the Z-Line Design car appeared to be suffering an off-note through the latter half of the open wheel season. Wilson has placed 6th on the lineup for the Homestead-Miami finale as one of his stronger oval qualifying effort this year.

Andretti Autosport's Tony Kanaan, hard-luck rookie for KV Racing Technology Takuma Sato and the third Penske Racing car of Twin-Ring Motegi winner Helio Castroneves wraps up the top-10 in qualifying for the Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300.

With the Indy Racing League and Homestead-Miami Speedway's parent company International Speedway Corporation at apparent odds with each other, likelihood dictates that this might be the last time for a while that IZOD IndyCars will visit the Florida oval. For 2011, indications point to Las Vegas Motor Speedway filling in the season finale spot but the IRL has still left the final date TBA on the upcoming season schedule.

Hardly known as an action track, the Homestead-Miami Speedway is known as a difficult place to pass under long green flag conditions. Barring cautions, the best way IndyCar teams will gain track position is through the pits. Though the normally bulletproof crews of Penske Racing appear to hold an edge, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing pit crews are certainly championship quality.
Coverage of the Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300 will start on Versus at 6 P.M. in the United States. Canadian fans will finally receive a break as TSN is simulcasting the final race of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series on the main TSN channel.

2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300

Homestead-Miami Speedway
Qualifying Results
Pos | Car# | Driver/Country of Origin | Sponsor/Team
  1. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
  2. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
  3. 12 Will Power/Australia Penske Racing
  4. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia Penske Racing
  5. 4 Dan Wheldon/England Panther Racing
  6. 22 Justin Wilson/England Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
  7. 20 Ed Carpenter/ United States Panther Racing
  8. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil Andretti Autosport
  9. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan KV Racing Technology
  10. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil Penske Racing
  11. 7 Danica Patrick/United States Andretti Autosport
  12. 34 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium Conquest Racing
  13. 24 Ana Beatriz/Brazil Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
  14. 26 Marco Andretti/United States Andretti Autosport
  15. 67 Sarah Fisher/United States Sarah Fisher Racing
  16. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela KV Racing Technology
  17. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil KV Racing Technology
  18. 02 Graham Rahal/United States Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
  19. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada FAZZT Race Team
  20. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States Andretti Autosport
  21. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil AJ Foyt Enterprises
  22. 19 Alex Lloyd/England Dale Coyne Racing
  23. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports
  24. 36 Sebastian Saavedra/Colombia Conquest Racing
  25. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
  26. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
  27. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela Dale Coyne Racing


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