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Franchitti takes pole at Milwaukee

West Allis, WI (Sports Network) - Two-time defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti claimed the pole for Sunday's Milwaukee 225 with a blistering two-lap average of 170.841 m.p.h. in qualifying at The Milwaukee Mile.

Franchitti was the only driver who topped the 170 m.p.h. mark in Saturday's qualifying at the flat one-mile oval. He also led the way in the second and third practice sessions.

"The setup of the car was really close to being perfect, and I just hung on to it," Franchitti said after earning his first pole of the season and the 25th of his IndyCar career. "I am glad to be back at the Milwaukee Mile, and this is a great place to start from for tomorrow's race."

Franchitti is hoping to bounce back after a seventh-place finish in the second race of last Saturday's Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway, which put him 21 points behind leader Will Power. Franchitti had to start 28th after selecting that position for the final event during a random drawing. Power won his first race on an oval at Texas.

Helio Castroneves from Team Penske will join Franchitti on the front row after posting an average of 169.999 m.p.h. Castroneves has captured two pole positions at Milwaukee, but has never won a race here.

"Yes, I would like a pole position, but at the end of the day, I will take second place," Castroneves said. "It is a good position to start the race, and my team strategy is right on this weekend."

Franchitti's teammate, Scott Dixon, who won the last race at Milwaukee in 2009, qualified third. Tony Kanaan, a two-time Milwaukee winner, took the fourth spot, and Takuma Sato completed the top-five.

E.J. Viso, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti and Oriol Servia were sixth through 10th, respectively.

Power struggled on his qualifying attempt. The Penske driver will start 17th in the 26-car field.

"I was flat through turns one and two, but I had a big moment there in turn three where I got loose, and that cost us," Power said. "It's certainly not where we wanted to start the race, but we know we have a good race car, and we'll put our heads down and try to make up ground tomorrow."

Danica Patrick qualified 15th.

During her second warm-up lap in qualifying, Simona de Silvestro lost control of her HVM Racing car. De Silvestro made rear end contact with the wall in turn four and then backed it into the inside retaining wall. She was awake and alert after the incident and was transported to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.

The 225-lap race at Milwaukee is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. (et).

06/18 20:22:00 ET


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