Ryan Briscoe scored an important point Friday by winning the pole position for the Peak Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Briscoe now leads Dario Franchitti by five points after scoring one point with the pole for Saturday night's race. Just three races remain in the IndyCar Series season.
Briscoe's four-lap average of 1:48.632 – 215.364 mph – was less than a tenth faster than Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves' average.
“The car was solid,” Brisoce said. “All four laps were really strong. We made a couple of adjustments in the car during the four laps to keep the front end under me. I could see the speed, so when I saw the first lap was a little quicker than the pole time, I just knew I had to keep doing the same thing. I was able to do that. It was a pretty smooth run.”
Franchitti will start third, with Tony Kanaan fourth, Graham Rahal fifth and Scott Dixon, the third competitor in the three-way race for the championship, sixth.
Franchitti said his car is better than it was at the previous oval race (Kentucky on Aug. 1), where he finished sixth and Dixon finished seventh. That was the first race with the series' new aero package, which seemed to make the cars racier.
“I'm a lot happier with my car this week,” Franchitti said. “Hopefully it's good enough.”
Dixon, who lost the points lead when he crashed on the first lap Sunday at Infineon Raceway and finished 13th, indicated his car was still not as quick as Franchitti's.
“We were pretty decent at Kentucky; we just messed up and made some bad calls,” Dixon said. “We should be pretty decent here. Hopefully we can do all right.”
Castroneves, who's still mathematically in the championship race but 127 points behind his teammate, said he'll go for the win if it comes down to a race between himself and Briscoe. If not, he'll help Briscoe get the win.
“It's pretty close between the two cars,” Castroneves said. “I'm happy to be on the front row, and we'll do everything we can to get Ryan more points for the championship.”
Saturday's race begins after 10 p.m. ET and will be televised live by Versus.
Pos Driver Team Speed
1. Ryan Briscoe Penske 215.364mph
2. Helio Castroneves Penske 215.202mph
3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 214.973mph
4. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 214.661mph
5. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 214.556mph
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi 214.494mph
7. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 214.428mph
8. Mario Moraes KV 214.331mph
9. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas/Lanigan 214.126mph
10. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 214.104mph
11. Dan Wheldon Panther 213.808mph
12. Ed Carpenter Vision 213.331mph
13. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 213.256mph
14. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 213.218mph
15. Justin Wilson Coyne 213.011mph
16. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 212.671mph
17. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 212.387mph
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt 212.337mph
19. Sarah Fisher Fisher 212.125mph
20. EJ Viso HVM 211.586mph
21. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 211.465mph
22. Robert Doornbos HVM 211.169mph
23. Jaques Lazier 3G 208.333mph