Alex Tagliani has claimed back-to-back pole positions at Texas Motor Speedway

Alex Tagliani is a driver who has fond memories of Texas Motor Speedway. The Canadian has claimed back-to-back pole positions at the circuit, going quickest in Friday night’s qualifying session at the 1.5-mile oval, narrowly edging out Dario Franchitti for top spot.

The Canadian posted a two-lap average speed of 215.691mph in the session – the first this season to be run under the traditional oval racing format, where drivers head out in a pre-set order to challenge for pole position.

The Andretti Autosport pairing of Marco Andretti, and then James Hinchcliffe, held top honours after their early runs, before ‘Hinch’ was displaced by Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti.

The Scot was challenged by series leader Will Power for top spot, but the Australian faltered on his second lap when he hit the rev limiter. Power was then displaced by Franchitti’s Chip Ganassi team-mates Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon, giving the team a provisional 1-2-3 in qualifying.

But then Tagliani took to the top spot in his Bryan Herta-run entry, in only the team’s third outing since it switched to Honda power after struggling with the uncompetitive Lotus engine it had run earlier in the year. His pole position average speed was just over 0.5mph quicker than the result he’d achieved a year before when he took pole position for the Sam Schmidt Motorsport team, an impressive result for the series’ new Dallara DW12 chassis and the latest engine configuration adopted by the series.

While IndyCar rookie Josef Newgarden starts from the rear of the field after failing to set a qualifying time (his engine was being changed after a failure in the day’s earlier practice session), two other drivers failed to post a qualifying result within the traditional 105% cut-off.

JR Hildebrand finished as the slowest timed runner in his Panther Racing entry, brought about by a mistake by the American on his single warm-up lap, which compromised the rest of his two-lap dash.

Simona de Silvestro also failed to make the qualifying cut in the field’s only Lotus-powered entry, with the HVM driver clearly struggling with the gutless engine on an oval where horsepower is everything.

It is widely expected that series officials will again force her to retire from Saturday night’s race if she is unable to sustain a quick enough race pace in tomorrow’s 228-lap event, as was the case at the Indianapolis 500 a fortnight ago.

2012 IndyCar Series Texas Firestone 550 Final Qualifying Results:

  Driver Entrant Result
1. Alex Tagliani CAN Bryan Herta Autosports Honda 215.691mph
2. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 215.646mph
3. Graham Rahal USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 215.554mph
4. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 215.331mph
5. Will Power AUS Team Penske Chevrolet 215.116mph
16. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 214.920mph
7. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 214.701mph
8. Mike Conway GBR AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 214.458mph
9. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 214.424mph
10. Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 214.196mph
11. Simon Pagenaud FRA Schmidt Hamilton Honda 214.082mph
12. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske Chevrolet 214.060mph
13. Oriol Servià ESP Panther / Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet 213.957mph
14. Rubens Barrichello BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 213.949mph
15. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 213.927mph
16. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 213.444mph
17. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske Chevrolet 213.402mph
18. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 212.833mph
19. Justin Wilson GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 212.136mph
20. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 211.643mph
21. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 211.245mph
22. Katherine Legge GBR Dragon Racing Chevrolet 210.543mph
23. Simona de Silvestro SUI Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus 204.066mph
24. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing Chevrolet 202.596mph
25. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda no time

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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.