Seeking Miami glory, Franchitti Powers Up

Franchitti Wins the Pole

Dario Franchitti took his first step toward chasing down Will Power for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship (photo courtesy: Mike Meadows)

On Saturday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Dario Franchitti took his first step toward chasing down Will Power for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship. The driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry registered a speed of 213.187 mph to capture the pole for Saturday’s Cafes do Brasil 300. With the forecast calling for sunshine and temperatures of 75 degrees (only a 10 percent chance of rain), it should be a beautifully scenic South Florida finish line to the 2010 IndyCar season.

Tickets start at $30—with all kids 12 and under admitted FREE into general admission—and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler—with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

Franchitti, who trails Penske Racing’s Power by 12 points entering this weekend’s NextEra Energy Indy Championships, gained a coveted Championship point for winning the pole position.

“We said this week that Will has got a fairly serious advantage, and the easier way to do it is to qualify for the pole, [lead the most laps] and win the race,” Franchitti said. “That’s going to be very, very difficult to do, but we’ve done the first step of that today. So we’ll just keep pushing tonight in practice and get ready for tomorrow night’s race. But I think it’s going to be a barn burner.”

Franchitti knows the pressure that comes with tight Championship points races. This time last year in Miami, he won his second IZOD IndyCar Series title in the Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was a tight three-way battle in 2009, with Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon and Team Penske Racing’s Ryan Briscoe all separated by just eight points.

“There’s always a certain amount of pressure,” Franchitti said. “I put pressure on myself. I want to win the Championship. I really don’t know what Will’s going through. I don’t know what his mindset is and how pressure he’s going through.

“I always know I’ll go out there and do the same job I try to do every single week, and that’s all I can really do. So I don’t put anymore pressure on myself than I did last week or I did in Indianapolis or the first race of the season. I just do the same job that I’ve been doing.”

Dixon, who does not have a chance to win the championship, completed the Target Chip Ganassi Racing sweep of the front row and will start alongside Franchitti.

“Team Target wanted the front row, and more importantly for Dario to get the pole and gain a little bit with that extra point,” said Dixon, who turned a lap at 212.908 mph. “As it turned out, it worked out perfectly.”

Power, who tested earlier this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, qualified third with a speed of 212.580 mph.

“That certainly helped me,” Power said of the test session. “It helped a lot, especially me, because I haven’t been here. I needed to get some experience on this track. Obviously it didn’t help us in qualifying there.

“I think the key for us is to really focus on the race tomorrow.”

Tickets for Saturday’s Championship-finale Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 start at $30—with all kids 12 and under admitted FREE into general admission—and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler—with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

Saturday, Oct. 2, will be a full day of racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The NextEra Energy Indy Championships begin with Historic Sports Car Racing (11:30 a.m.), followed by the Firestone Indy Lights Championship (3:45 pm) and then the headlining Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 IndyCar Championship (7 p.m.). Gates open at 8:30 a.m., and all-day tickets are just $30, with kids 12 and under admitted FREE of charge into general-admission areas.

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010

8:30 AM   GATES OPEN
8-9:40 AM   Qualifying: Historic Sportscar Racing
11:30 AM-1 PM  Historic Sportscar Racing
1-1:30 PM   Historic Sportscar Racing
3:45-5 PM   Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100/Firestone Indy Lights Series
6 PM    IndyCar Pre-Race
7 PM    Café do Brasil Indy 300/IZOD IndyCar Series

Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010
8:30 AM   GATES OPEN for Spectators (Gate #18 only – Infield access only $10)
8:30 AM-4:30 PM  Historic Sportscar Racing

Where South Florida Drivers Will Start:

8.   Tony Kanaan
10.  Helio Castroneves
12.  EJ Viso
13.  Mario Moraes
15.  Ana Beatriz
16.  Marco Andretti
 20. Ryan Hunter-Reay
21.  Vitor Meira
23.  Raphael Matos
27.  Milka Duno

Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka 300 Firestone Indy Lights

Pippa Mann earned the pole for Saturday afternoon’s Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka 100 Firestone Indy Lights race, with a fast lap of 186.597 mph in the Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.

“Does my silence speak volumes?,” Mann said when asked what a victory on Saturday would mean. “It would be amazing. That was the goal, to have a perfect weekend. In this series, that’s getting the pole, leading the most laps and winning the race. I don’t know if that’s possible. I’m really, really focused to getting back to fifth in the Championship [standings]. If that happened, I think I would be lost for words.”

Tickets for a full day of Championship racing on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway start at $30—with all kids 12 and under admitted FREE into general-admission areas—and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler—with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

Charlie Kimball qualified second, the best start on an oval of his Firestone Indy Lights career.
“Qualifying felt really good,” Kimball said. “We spent both practices working on our race car. The car felt good in the warm-up lap, so I knew the car was quick. I was hoping to get a pole to finish out the year, but I’ll take the front row.”

Points leader J.K. Vernay qualified 12th, his worst starting spot of the season. Vernay needs to start the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka 100 on Saturday to clinch his first Firestone Indy Lights championship.

On Saturday, the culmination of weekend activities is the Championship finale for the IndyCar Series, the Cafés do Brasil Indy 300, set to go green at 7 p.m. as inviting 80 degree temperatures are forecast to continue throughout the day.

Saturday, Oct. 2, will be a full day of racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The NextEra Energy Indy Championships begin with Historic Sports Car Racing (11:30 a.m.), followed by the Firestone Indy Lights Championship (3:45 pm) and then the headlining Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 IndyCar Championship (7 p.m.). Gates open at 8:30 a.m., and all-day tickets are just $30, with kids 12 and under admitted FREE of charge into general-admission areas.

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010

8:30 AM   GATES OPEN
8-9:40 AM   Qualifying: Historic Sportscar Racing
11:30 AM-1 PM  Historic Sportscar Racing
1-1:30 PM   Historic Sportscar Racing
3:45-5 PM   Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100/Firestone Indy Lights Series
6 PM    IndyCar Pre-Race
7 PM    Café do Brasil Indy 300/IZOD IndyCar Series

Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010
8:30 AM   GATES OPEN for Spectators (Gate #18 only – Infield access only $10)
8:30 AM-4:30 PM  Historic Sportscar Racing

 

 

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