Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti put himself in pole position to close the 20-gap to IndyCar Championship leader Scott Dixon when he qualified fastest for today’s round at Sears Point.
The 36-year-old Scot lapped the 2.3-mile track in 1min 16.7987sesc to pip the Penske cars of Aussie Ryan Briscoe and last year’s winner, Brazilian Helio Castroneves, by 0.0489s and 0.0717s respectively.
But Franchitti, whose Ganassi team-mate Dixon struggled to qualify a distant 10th, had to overcome an off after a mistake on his first flying lap. But Franchitti simply returned to the pits, cleaned the dirt off his tyres and jumped to the head of the order two laps later.
“The car was good straight off the truck this morning,” Franchitti explained. “That was a minor off. I tried to go down a couple of gears and it wouldn’t go down any, so I ended up going off a little bit, but it was okay.”
Watkins Glen winner Justin Wilson suffered a suspension problem in round one of qualifying leaving him 19th on the grid, while the initial 24-car field is now down to 22 entrants.
After a crash in the earlier practice session, both Penske’s Will Power and Nelson Philippe (Conquest) have been ruled out with broken vertebrae and a fractured leg respectively.