Dixon wins Detroit pole, Franchitti starts 15th
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Scott Dixon claimed the pole for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix after edging Will Power by the slimmest of margins in Saturday's qualifying session.
Dixon, in his Honda-powered Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, denied Team Penske and Chevrolet its sixth consecutive pole victory this season. He rounded the 2.07-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle street circuit in 1 minute, 10.3162 seconds for the top starting position.
Power and Dixon traded the top spot during the last one and a half minutes in the final qualifying segment (Fast Six). Power's lap was only 0.0044 seconds behind Dixon.
"I am really happy about starting up front because this is such a tough track and physically demanding on the drivers," said Dixon, who also won the pole for the most recent race at Belle Isle in 2008. "The track is bumpy and the best place to pass is on the straights, so staring up front is very important."
While Dixon claimed his 18th career IndyCar pole, his Ganassi teammate and last Sunday's Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti, failed to advance into the second qualifying segment and ended up with a starting position of 15th.
"We didn't really have the session we wanted," Franchitti said. "We have a good car, and the guys made some great changes this morning, so I hope we get to show it (in Sunday's race)."
Detroit's Belle Isle is the fifth of 11 road/street courses on the series' schedule this year. Power has won the three previous course races -- Birmingham, Long Beach and Brazil. The Penske driver finished seventh in the season-opener in St. Petersburg.
"You've just got to be smart and see how things play out," Power said. "I just race the way I race, which is to win, so that means not trying to do anything stupid."
Power is coming off a disappointing 28th-place finish in the Indy 500. He was involved in a crash with Mike Conway just prior to the halfway point. Power continues to lead in the championship standings, but his advantage is now 36 points over Castroneves, his teammate, and James Hinchcliffe.
Alex Tagliani qualified third after making the Fast Six for the first time since August 2010 at Sonoma, CA. Tagliani will share row two with rookie Simon Pagenaud. E.J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay will roll off from the third row.
Graham Rahal qualified seventh, followed by Ryan Briscoe, the pole sitter in the Indy 500, Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais.
Hinchcliffe will start 14th.
Sunday's 90-lap race at Belle Isle is scheduled to start just after 3:30 p.m. (ET).
06/02 15:52:15 ET