Ryan Briscoe beat Scott Dixon to pole by a comfortable margin in qualifying for the IndyCar Series' first oval round of 2010 at Kansas.
The Penske driver had been second to Dixon (Ganassi) in the delayed practice session, which had started four and a half hours later than planned and been amalgamated from first one-hour sessions to a single 105-minute practice due to early rain.
But when it mattered in qualifying it was Briscoe who had the edge, outpacing Dixon by 0.4sec over their respective four-lap runs.
"It felt great. The car really ran well," said Briscoe. "We made some changes after practice and we were hoping to pick up a couple of tenths – and we did. So it went to plan and was a picture-perfect qualifying session for us."
Dan Wheldon was third, his best qualifying result since rejoining Panther Racing last year, but later had his time disallowed due to a white-line infringement, as did 11th-placed Marco Andretti. Both drivers will start from the back (see separate story).
Dario Franchitti put the second Ganassi car fourth, with highly impressive performances from underdogs Alex Tagliani (FAZZT), Hideki Mutoh (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) and Vitor Meira (Foyt) placing them in fifth through seventh positions.
Championship leader Will Power was eighth, ahead of his Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.
It was a tough session for Andretti Autosport, although Danica Patrick at least squeezed into the top 10. Marco Andretti lost his position due to the white line penalty, while Tony Kanaan and Long Beach winner Ryan Hunter-Reay struggled to 17th and 24th, respectively. John Andretti, making his debut for the team ahead of his Indianapolis 500 outing in its fifth car, was 19th.
KV's Takuma Sato will start his first oval race from 13th place. Fellow rookie Mario Romancini did not run in qualifying as the Conquest team worked to repair his car following his practice crash.
Pos Driver Team Speed
1. Ryan Briscoe Penske 212.15mph
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 211.22mph
3. Dan Wheldon Panther 211.22mph
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 211.19mph
5. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas 211.11mph
6. Alex Tagliani FAZZT 210.86mph
7. Vitor Meira Foyt 210.66mph
8. Will Power Penske 210.62mph
9. Helio Castroneves Penske 210.49mph
10. Danica Patrick Andretti 210.41mph
11. Marco Andretti Andretti 210.40mph
12. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 210.38mph
13. Takuma Sato KV 210.35mph
14. Mario Moraes KV 210.17mph
15. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon/de Ferran 209.91mph
16. Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher 209.89mph
17. Tony Kanaan Andretti 209.72mph
18. EJ Viso KV 209.73mph
19. John Andretti Andretti 209.73mph
20. Simona de Silvestro HVM 209.43mph
21. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 209.32mph
22. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 209.18mph
23. Jay Howard Sarah Fisher 208.77mph
24. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 208.41mph
25. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 208.30mph
26. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 207.88mph
27. Mario Romancini Conquest