EDMONTON, Alberta (July 25, 2008) – Team Penske certainly has qualifying figured out. For the second consecutive race, Team Penske drivers took the first two starting positions by sweeping qualifying for the Rexall Edmonton Indy on Friday afternoon at City Centre Airport in Edmonton – the first time both drivers had ever seen the airport track.
Ryan Briscoe and his No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda will start from the pole position after posting a fast lap of 1 minute 0.7311 seconds -- 116.955 mph -- around the 14-turn, 1.973-mile course. Last weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Briscoe started second behind teammate Helio Castroneves, but won the race as Castroneves finished second.
Briscoe almost didn’t make it into the Firestone Fast Six, but made it late in the second session, then recorded the pole-winning lap on his third of four laps in the final session. “Unbelievable,” said Briscoe. “This one didn't come easy. I was doing all I could just to make the Fast Six. We put sticker tires on, and I was able to just lay it out for one lap. That was a scary lap, and I only just made it into the Fast Six. So sitting here on the pole, it really is quite amazing.”
After he made it into the final 10-minute session for the six fastest cars, Briscoe jumped from sixth to first with his best flyer of the day. “We dialed it in during the last 10 minutes, and it felt great,” he said. “On the first lap, the heat in the tires came in real quick, and I knew I had to do everything I could to get the pole today."
Castroneves and the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda will start second after his lap of 1:00.8360 -- 116.753 mph – his sixth front row start in 13 races this season. "We were pushing out there, and I could see everyone else was pushing, too," said Castroneves. "I think it's better to play catch-up. People have a number to go for, so they take some chances and they may be able to beat it in one lap. In the last session, the second group had just finished running and they were still hot, so I was just trying to make the most of the opportunity. It was just one of those laps where you don't want to make a mistake, so I pushed to a certain limit. It just wasn't good enough for pole.”
It was the fourth consecutive pole for Team Penske, which also landed the number one starting position at Watkins Glen, Nashville and Mid-Ohio. It was the 14th time that Team Penske scored a one-two qualifying sweep in the IndyCar Series and the 50th one-two start in Penske’s open-wheel history.
The 95-lap race is scheduled to start Saturday at 5 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on ESPN.
Qualifying Friday for the Rexall Edmonton Indy IndyCar Series event on the 1.973-mile Edmonton City Centre Airport, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 116.955
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 116.753
3. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 116.710
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 116.710
5. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 116.410
6. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, no speed
7. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 115.871
8. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 115.573
9. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 115.183
10. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 115.015
11. (36) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 114.519
*12. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, no speed
13. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 114.011
14. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 114.370
15. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 113.796
16. (22) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 114.122
17. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 113.662
18. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 112.502
19. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 113.347
20. (96) Mario Dominguez, Dallara-Honda, 112.500
21. (33) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 112.879
22. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 111.312
23. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 111.983
24. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 111.185
25. (23) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 111.610
26. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 102.865
27. (34) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 111.229
* - Will start at back of the field due to post-qualifying