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Franchitti takes pole for Sonoma
Sonoma, CA (Sports Network) - Dario Franchitti won the pole while his teammate, Scott Dixon, secured the second starting position to give Chip Ganassi Racing a front row sweep for Sunday's IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway.
Franchitti, the four-time series champion, made a lap around this 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course in 1 minute, 17.5271 seconds for his fourth pole win of the season and the 33rd on his IndyCar career. It will be the third time Franchitti starts first at Sonoma. He started on the pole and won here in 2009.
Earlier this week, Franchitti and Dixon were quickest in a test session at Sonoma. Franchitti led the way in the third and final practice, held just prior to qualifying on Saturday.
"Both Target (Chip Ganassi Racing) cars have been great all weekend," Franchitti said. "During the Fast Six, I blew it in turn 6 on both laps, but I'm quite happy the time stood. I tried a little too hard in 6 and screwed it up. I'm happy with the pole position."
Franchitti has not won a race since the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
Dixon posted a lap time of 1:17.7196. He enters this race 31 points behind leader Helio Castroneves in the championship standings.
Will Power, who was attempting to win his fourth consecutive pole at Sonoma, grabbed the third starting spot with a lap at 1:17.9735. Power is a two-time race winner here (2010, '11). He finished second at this track one year ago. The Team Penske driver has yet to win an event this season.
"Obviously, the Ganassi guys have a pretty strong cars, but we're still happy with third," Power said. "I thought it was going to be tough to beat Dario. We'll do our best. It will be really nice to get a solid result, but we want to challenge for the win there."
A Penske driver has won the last three races at Sonoma. Ryan Briscoe scored the victory here last year when he drove for the team. Briscoe, who is now behind the No. 4 car for Panther Racing, will start 22nd in the 25-car field.
Ganassi has won the last four IndyCar races. Dixon claimed the victory in the inaugural event at Pocono and then scored a sweep in the weekend doubleheader in Toronto. Charlie Kimball is coming off his first career IndyCar win on Aug. 4 at Mid-Ohio.
"I'm very happy, considering it is a Penske-dominant track since they've dominated the race here the last few years. It's been nice for us to turn it around."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the defending series champion, qualified fourth, followed by Castroneves and Kimball.
Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe and Simon Pagenaud completed the top-10.
Sunday's 85-lap race at Sonoma is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. ET.
08/24 19:38:58 ET
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