Castroneves Claims Pole Position in Nashville

July 11, 2008

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 11, 2008) - Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves reaffirmed his place as a contender for the 2008 IndyCar Series championship by winning the pole position Friday night for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.  Castroneves and his No. 3 Team Penske Honda/Dallara recorded a four-lap average of 204.519 mph to win the pole, marking his 24th in the IndyCar Series and his first-ever on the 1.33-mile concrete oval.

“What a great four laps,” Castroneves declared after securing the No. 1 starting position for Saturday night’s event. “I’m excited to be on the pole, especially after what happened last week in Watkins Glen. What a way to make it happen. I’m extremely happy for the team. They’ve been working 24/7, and they are so awesome. I’m proud to have these guys on my side.”

Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe, in his No. 6 machine, qualified ninth in the 24-car field.  Briscoe, who scored the 300th win for Roger Penske’s team last month at Milwaukee and won the pole last week at Watkins Glen International, said he was disappointed with his speed after his car slid sideways in Turn 1 on then his first qualifying lap. 

 “We started a little slow but battled back to put in an OK run,” Briscoe said. “I think we could have done better, but considering the circumstances we’ll take it and hope for the best tomorrow. 

“Congrats to Helio on his first pole of the season. This makes two in a row for Team Penske, which is very cool.”

The Firestone Indy 200 will be telecast on ESPN at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 12 and will also be carried on the IMS Radio Network.

Qualifying Friday for the Firestone Indy 200 IndyCar Series event on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and four lap average speed:

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 204.519 mph (1.31.5230 seconds)

2. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 203.335

3. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 203.316

4. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 203.306

5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 203.233

6. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 203.077

7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 202.818

8. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 202.735

9. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 202.690 (1:32.3576)

10. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 202.561

11. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 202.220

12. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 202.196

13. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 201.997

14. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 201.887

15. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 201.661

16. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 201.564

17. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 201.446

18. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 201.173

19. (36) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 201.153

20. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 200.026

21. (24) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 200.017

22. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 199.841

23. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 199.658

24. (34) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 199.164