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IndyCar points leader Briscoe on Chicagoland pole

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Associated Press
August 28, 2009
— Ryan Briscoe took a small step to boost his IndyCar championship bid Friday, winning the pole for Saturday night's race at Chicagoland Speedway.

The series points leader averaged 215.364 mph, earning the top starting spot and a bonus point in the championship standings.


With three races left in the IndyCar season, Briscoe leads Dario Franchitti by five points. Briscoe will start alongside his teammate, Helio Castroneves, with Franchitti directly behind him in the third starting spot.


Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal rounded out the top five in qualifying. Scott Dixon, who enters Chicagoland third in the points, will start sixth and Danica Patrick will start ninth.


Briscoe credited Castroneves with giving him helpful on-track feedback from his qualifying run.


"Our cars are very close, so it sort of gave me a little bit of a heads-up as to how the track conditions were," Briscoe said. "And it all helps, because, I mean, you're talking about the slightest speed differences out there."


But if it comes down to a race between Briscoe and Castroneves on Saturday, can Briscoe count on his teammate to help his championship chances by staying in line instead of racing him for the win?


"I have to say, is he going to risk it or help me out? I don't know," Briscoe said. "You might have to talk to him about it. What did he say?"


Castroneves remains in mathematical contention for the championship but would have to leapfrog three drivers in the standings, something he acknowledged was unlikely.


That leaves Castroneves free to race all-out for wins, but Castroneves said he considers it a priority to race in support of Briscoe for the championship.


"You've got to go race for the win, no question about it, but (I'm) certainly going to try to support my teammate because he's leading the championship and every point counts," Castroneves said.


However, Castroneves said he and Briscoe aren't subject to "team orders" from the Penske team braintrust instructing them on how to race each other. So if it comes down to the last lap and he's stalking Briscoe for the race lead, what will Castroneves do?


"Good question," Castroneves said. "I don't know. Hopefully we'll figure it out."


Briscoe has a fairly simple strategy mapped out, just in case.


"I'm going to be full-throttle, I'll tell you that much," Briscoe said.


It's the eighth pole position of Briscoe's career, and his fourth of the season. Briscoe also started from the pole at Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and Milwaukee.


Peak Indy 300 Lineup

1. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 215.364.


2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 215.202.


3. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 214.973.


4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 214.661.


5. (02) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 214.556.


6. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 214.494.


7. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 214.470.


8. (5) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 214.331.


9. (06) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 214.126.


10. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 214.104.


11. (4) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 213.808.


12. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 213.331.


13. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 213.256.


14. (43) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 213.218.


15. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 213.011.


16. (24) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 212.671.


17. (2) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 212.387.


18. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 212.337.


19. (67) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 212.125.


20. (13) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 211.586.


21. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 211.465.


22. (33) Robert Doornbos, Dallara-Honda, 211.169.


23. (98) Jaques Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 208.333.



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