The Stage is Set for a Barn-Burner at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Dario takes the pole at HMS

Dario Franchitti takes the pole at Homestead-Miami and gained a bonus point heading into the Firestone Indy 300 (photo courtesy: Robert Laberge, Getty Images Sport)

The second-closest points battle in the storied history of the IndyCar Series will be decided Oct. 10 with the Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Firestone Indy 300.  Phenomenal seats remain for the South Florida series-crowning Championship. 

Missed IndyCar Series qualifying today?  Dario Franchitti served notice to the other title contenders by driving off with the pole position for tomorrow night’s Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Franchitti trailed his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon by five points heading into qualifying for the Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

By claiming the pole, Franchitti landed an all-important single bonus point that brings him within four points of Dixon.

"I was pleasantly surprised since we hadn't run quite well in practice this morning," Franchitti said.

Franchitti nipped Dixon to the pole position by 0.25 seconds.

"The car was loose to start with," Dixon said. "That was a handful, but the car is still strong. I just went the wrong way on some adjustments."

Coral Gables resident Helio Castroneves suffered a practice session accident that put him behind the “eight ball” in qualifying.  Castroneves was following IndyCar title hopeful -- and teammate -- Ryan Briscoe with three minutes left in the practice when the crash occurred.

His bid to become the first South Florida resident to win on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway was in serious jeopardy after the practice crash.  Castroneves just missed a Top-10 starting position after his team hurriedly prepared the spare Team Penske Dallara/Honda – to start 11th in the Firestone Indy 300.

Briscoe enters the season-finale eight points behind Dixon.

"I don't know if the track got slower at the end, but I think we did about what we were expecting to do," said Briscoe, who qualified late in the session for a third-place effort.

Firestone Indy Lights Set the Stage with the second-closest finish in series history

Friday night’s Miami 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Homestead-Miami Speedway gave race fans a nail-biting finish.

Mario Romancini, driving the No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied/RLR Andersen Racing car, overtook J.R. Hildebrand a few yards from the finish line and won by 0.0057 of a second - the second-closet margin of victory in Firestone Indy Lights history.

Romancini attempted to overtake Hildebrand a half-dozen times, but the new Firestone Indy Lights champion shut the door each time. Getting a run off Turn 4, Romancini moved to the middle of the racetrack and nosed ahead of Hildebrand's No. 26 ARPRO car at the line.

"I lost my voice. I was screaming so much on the radio," said Romancini, who became the deepest in the field (10th starting position) to win this season. "It was really difficult to pass J.R. I knew if I had one chance it would be the last lap. I tried before but I couldn't get by him in Turn 1, so I knew my only chance would be at the start/finish line.”

Great seats are available for the Oct. 9-10 NextEra Energy Resources SPEEDJAMsm Championships, featuring the series-crowning Championship finales of the Firestone Indy Lights, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car and IndyCar Series. The Firestone Indy 300 is set for Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the Champion to be crowned after the checkered flag waves under the lights.

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