Reigning IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti has comfortably won pole position for this weekend’s Milwaukee IndyFest championship event at the historic Milwaukee Mile.
It is the Scot’s 27th career pole position, tying him with Al Unser for seventh place on the list of all-time pole position winners in the championship’s history.
Franchitti was as surprised as anyone to have claimed top spot, after posting a lowly 18th-fastest effort in the preceding practice session around the one-mile oval circuit, but he put it all together in the afternoon’s qualifying session with a two-lap average speed of 168.737mph.
Second-fastest in the qualifying session was last weekend’s Texas race-winner, Justin Wilson, who took his Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing entry around the circuit just under half a mile slower than Franchitti.
But Wilson won’t be taking the front-row starting position, having earlier been one of six drivers to be issued with a ten-place grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change.
Also joining Wilson down the grid order are championship leaders Will Power and Scott Dixon, along with Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden, and Ryan Briscoe.
Wilson’s penalty means that Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) will start from the outside of the front row, marking his best starting position on an oval since his days in the CART championship.
The penalties are great news for Franchitti, currently lying 63 points adrift of championship leader Power, who will be now starting from the seventh row of the grid.
Rubens Barrichello qualified an impressive fifth-fastest in his KV Racing entry, but will be promoted to third following the penalties of Wilson and Power (who was fourth-quickest).
2012 IndyCar Series Texas Firestone 550 Final Qualifying Results:
* Denotes 10-place grid penalty to be imposed
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