Only weeks after taking a surprise pole position at the Indianapolis 500, Alex Tagliani has repeated the feat by taking pole for the first race of the double-header Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway. Alex Tagliani celebrates back-to-back oval poles

The Sam Schmidt Motorsport driver clocked an average speed of 215.816mph on his two-lap run of the oval circuit, fractionally faster than second-quickest man Dario Franchitti, who was a dominant fixture during last year’s oval-race events. Championship leader Will Power qualified third-fastest in his Penske.

Qualifying threw up some surprises, with KV Racing’s Takuma Sato clocking an impressive-fourth-fastest average speed.

Indy Lights veteran Wade Cunningham made his IndyCar debut in the second Sam Schmidt entry, and the New Zealander was an eyebrow-raising eighth-fastest.

Making his return to Dragon Racing for the second of his five outings with the team, veteran driver Paul Tracy qualified only 21st-fastest.

This weekend’s round is the first two-race event in 20 years. The starting order for the second 275-mile race will be determined by a random ballot draw after the first race. Half-points are being awarded in each race.

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2011 Firestone Twin 275s Qualifying Results:

Driver Team Avg Speed
1. Alex Tagliani CDN Sam Schmidt Motorsports 215.186
2. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi 214.801
3. Will Power AUS Team Penske 214.716
4. Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology Lotus 214.470
5. Ed Carpenter USA Sarah Fisher Racing 214.373
6. Tony Kanaan BRZ KV Racing Technology Lotus 214.252
7. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi 214.021
8. Wade Cunningham NZL Sam Schmidt Motorsports 214.013
9. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske 213.891
10. Danica Patrick USA Andretti Autosport 213.850
11. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 213.458
12. Vitor Meira BRZ AJ Foyt Enterprises 213.429
13. Hélio Castroneves BRZ Team Penske 213.232
14. Oriol Servià ESP Newman/Haas Racing 213.023
15. James Hinchcliffe CDN Newman/Haas Racing 212.970
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 212.938
17. Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi 212.797
18. Davey Hamilton USA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 212.555
19. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Lotus 212.494
20. Graham Rahal USA Chip Ganassi 212.404
21. Paul Tracy CDN Dragon Racing 212.305
22. Mike Conway GBR Andretti Autosport 212.260
23. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 212.223
24. Ana Beatriz BRZ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 212.221
25. Alex Lloyd GBR Dale Coyne Racing 212.091
26. Sebastian Saavedra COL Conquest Racing 212.033
27. Justin Wilson GBR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 211.762
28. Jay Howard GBR Rahal / Schmidt 211.691
29. Simona di Silvestro SUI HVM Racing 210.855mph
30. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing no time

[Image via IZOD IndyCar Series]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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