Dario Franchitti wins heat race, pole for Iowa Carn Indy 250

Dario Franchitti, who leaped into the top eight on the time chart in the final seconds of practice to qualify for the heat race, passed Marco Andretti on Lap 8 of 30 and went on the claim the pole for the 250-lap race under the lights June 23.It was the second consecutive week that Franchitti has started on pole, and was the 28th of his Indy car career (passing Al Unser for seventh on the all-time list).Results of the second practice session determined the fields for the 30-lap qualifying races. The top eight comprised Race 3, while Race 1 consisted of even-numbered positions in practice to determine the even-numbered spots in the starting lineup starting from 10th down. Race 3 followed the same format for odd-numbered cars.Franchitti led Helio Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car, to the start-finish line of the .894-mile track by 1.4671 seconds. It will be the second front-row start of the season and the fourth at Iowa Speedway for Castroneves, who won the opener at St. Petersburg.Andretti, who topped the time chart in the two practice sessions, and Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe will be on Row 2.Team Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Will Power, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader, will start on Row 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the winner last week at Milwaukee, will be on Row 4 with Scott Dixon.Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal were the other heat race winners to qualifying ninth and 10th, respectively, but they'll incur 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes. Alex Tagliani and Josef Newgarden will take their spots on Row 5.Also on June 22, Tristan Vautier's first qualifying lap of 160.066 mph on the .894-mile Iowa Speedway oval paved the way to a two-lap average of 159.973 mph (40.2368 seconds) and the pole position for the Firestone Indy Lights Sukup 100 on June 23.Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb Agajanian car, earned his third pole of the season -- and second in a row. He went on to win the race last weekend at the Milwaukee Mile.Esteban Guerrieri will start on the front row for the third time this season, posting a qualifying speed of 159.597 mph (40.3316 seconds). He started from the pole in the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway.Victor Carbone, the final qualifier, jumped to third in the No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb Agajanian car to provide the sixth 1-2-3 starting lineup for the team in Firestone Indy Lights. Sebastian Saavedra will join Carbone on Row 2 in the No. 27 Team AFS car.DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in Iowa Corn Indy 250, a 250-lap race at 9 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Firestone Indy Lights will compete in the Sukup 100, a 115-lap race at 6:40 p.m., Saturday. The Star Mazda Championship, part of the Mazda Road to Indy Ladder, will compete in the Iowa Speedway Foundation 100 at 5:20 p.m., on Saturday.                                                         ***This is the sixth IZOD IndyCar Series event at Iowa Speedway. Marco Andretti won the race last year. Past winners Andretti, Tony Kanaan (2010) and Dario Franchitti (2007 and 2009) are entered in the event.***Live timing and scoring reports from Iowa Corn Indy 250 are available on the Internet at racecontrol.indycar.com. Feature stories, reports, driver quotes and notes will be posted on the INDYCAR media website at media.indycar.com. More detailed information, including media advisories and VNF coordinates are also posted on the media website.  Hi-resolution images are available to media at www.indycarmedia.com. Media updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @indycarpr***The following cars will have 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes following the event at Milwaukee: #5 Viso, #11 Kanaan***The field for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be set through three heat races today.Qualification groups will be determined by lap times recorded by entries on the .875-mile oval in the second (45-minute) practice session (2:30 p.m).Race 1 will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time, and determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.Race 2 will consist of the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth-quickest practice time, and determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field from ninth down. Race 3 will consist of drivers ranked one through eight from the practice. Results of Race 3 will determine the first four rows, with the winner taking the pole position.***ABC's telecast of the Milwaukee IndyFest showed an increase in national ratings and viewership over the same race in 2011.Based on data numbers provided by Neilsen Media Research and ESPN, the race on June 16 won by Ryan Hunter-Reay delivered a 1.0 household rating and 1,409,000 viewers - an increase of 14 percent over 2011's race, which was also televised by ABC.The rating is a 20 percent increase among households (1.0 vs. 0.8) from last year's race.***Bunkers straddle the fairway on the 321-yard (women's tee), par-4 18th hole at the TPC River Highlands, placing a premium on accuracy. No problem for Simona de Silvestro, who drives it as straight as her Nuclear Clean Energy car for Lotus HVM Racing."Good power on her drives just like her drives," said playing partner, PGA Tour pro Y.E. Yang, during the pro-am of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., on June 20.De Silvestro was particularly pleased as she closed with a birdie for the round."I made a really long putt, but I think it was because Y.E. gave me a new putter," she said of Yang, who has two tour victories. "I can drive the ball, but chipping is pretty terrible. He helped me out and helped me read the putts. He was a really cool person to play with."I had an unbelievable time, the first time I ever did a pro-am. It was just a lot of fun, especially with the people from (sponsors) Entergy and Westinghouse. It was cool that they invited me."It was fun to play with things like grandstands and having a caddie. Even the driving range was so nice and the course was really beautiful."De Silvestro took up the sport when she was 12 or 13 in her native Switzerland, which doesn't quickly come to mind as a European golf destination (it has about 60 courses)."That's when they just opened a course about 5 minutes from our house," she said. "That's where I first started, me and my dad. I started watching golf on TV last year and started to get into it. I got new clubs and started playing more often. I'm still not great, but it's a fun game and it kind of gets your mind off all the craziness we go through (during the IZOD IndyCar Series season)."***More than 80 Boy Scouts and Webelos from the Mid-Iowa Council visited Iowa Speedway on Friday as part of a post-school year field trip to the track ..The trip was used emphasize how science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) are woven into the IZOD IndyCar Series and the students' everyday life. STEM is part of a Boy Scouts of America initiative to use the IZOD IndyCar Series as a platform to expose members to and cultivate their interest in potential career paths that require critical thinking and innovation."It's what the future is for these students," said Scout Master Tim Linahon of Newton his troop listened to INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips explain why carbon fiber instead of sheet metal sheaths the new Dallara chassis. "Some kids have a natural instinct to be curious, but the more you expose them to all the technology in the (IZOD IndyCar Series) the more interest there will be. I think this is wicked cool."The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which started the STEM program in January 2011, is a promotional partner with INDYCAR. Such track visits, driver meet-and-greets and Pinewood Derby events associated with select IZOD IndyCar Series race weekends complement members cheering on the Boy Scouts of America car driven by James Jakes for Dale Coyne Racing on the racetrack.Additionally, what's developed at the racetrack, such as the new 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that runs on E85 supplied by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus for the IZOD IndyCar Series cars, soon will be in the scouts' driveways."It's one of the reasons we got into INDYCAR - the relevance of the turbocharger, direct injection, smaller displacement engines with similar power outputs, focusing on fuel economy" said Chris Berube, Chevrolet's INDYCAR program manager. "They're all things in a race car that are relevant to their personal car. The bigger picture is getting high-technology manufacturing back in the United States. The more people that are interested in engineering the more likely we'll manufacture items in this country and bring our economy back."***IZOD IndyCar Series officials issued a competition bulletin today about the heat races which will set the field for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.Under Rule During the second practice, if a car interferes with another car as determined by the Race Director, the car will lose its two fastest laps on the first offense and will have all laps voided and will be prohibited from participating in the remainder of the session following the second offense.***#38 Rahal has been given a 10 grid spot penalty following an unapproved engine change following the first practice.***In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day today, Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti brought his German Shepherd Leroy to his team's garage after IZOD IndyCar Series practice.Andretti bought the Leroy - who is trained as a protection dog - for his wife, Jodi earlier this week. Leroy is attending his first race this weekend at Iowa Speedway and will attend all races that Jodi Andretti plans to attend."He was watching the cars go around earlier," Michael Andretti said. "I think he likes being here."Take Your Dog to Work Day began in 1999 to celebrate dogs as companions and to promote adoptions by showing off the bond between dog and owner.***Selected quotes from Tony Kanaan's media availability:TONY KANAAN (No. 11GEICO/Mouser Electronics KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "It's always good to be back here. It's a place I've always enjoyed. When you have good results at a race track, you always look forward to coming back. I have mixed feelings about the heat races tonight, but my mom always told me, and I remember when I was a little kid, I would never try any new type of food. I would say, 'I don't like it.' And she would always say, 'You can't say you don't like before you try it.' We'll see. It will be different. The second session this afternoon will turn into a qualifying match because everyone is going to be trying to get in the top eight. I think on a positive note, we'll be able to understand what we need for the car tomorrow. But I won this race starting from 15th. We have a 10 grid penalty for an engine change, so if I start 15ht tomorrow I'll be happy. (About today being Dan Wheldon's birthday): "I could not forget his birthday, especially To be at this track where he was very good. It is a sweet coincidence having a race weekend on his birthday at a place he liked so much. Hopefully we'll make him proud and wish him a Happy Birthday wherever he is." (About bumps on straights): "They did a great job fixing the bump in Turn 1. It's still a bit bumpy, but it's a characteristic of the track and it makes a difference in the race. If you have a good racecar or you don't have a good car, you can dial it in for the bumps. I think as a racecar driver you don't want any bumps, but I don't see it as a problem. I see it as a characteristic of the track."***Bryan Herta Autosport announced today that Anders Krohn will pilot the No. 28 entry for the Firestone Indy Lights race this weekend at Iowa Speedway.Through the 115-lap FIL race, Krohn aims to create awareness for the I-Tec and Yellow Jacket 'Wanna Frac More?' campaign, which showcases their supreme technology in Hydraulic Fracturing. In addition, Premiere Glass & Mirror will make their racing sponsorship debut on BHA's No. 28 car."It was a great pleasure to work with Bryan Herta Autosport in Indianapolis and I feel like collectively, we have some unfinished business," said Krohn. "Therefore, I'm thrilled to be back with them at Iowa. I'm really looking forward to a strong showing for my sponsors, i-Tec, Yellow Jacket and Premiere Glass & Mirror."BHA is such a tight-knit group and I feel very fortunate to have such quality people working on my behalf. A special thanks to Bryan Herta and Steve Newey for working tirelessly to help me put this deal together."***Selected quotes from Sam Schmidt's media availabilitySAM SCHMIDT: "It's been fantastic in so many ways. We started off with Thiago (Medeiros) in 2004 with six wins and the all-time best is Alex Lloyd with eight (wins). It's a great milestone, but at the same time, when you saw the Indy 500 and of the 33 drivers on the grid nine were that were picked from our program. That's almost as much of a tick on the checklist as anything and a tribute to Chris Griffis because he built the team. (Which win is most special?): "The seven of nine at Indy. I don't know if you can pick from one of those, but to win seven of nine at Indy is special. I think the year with Alex Lloyd (2007) where nothing could go wrong in that season and gosh, I think the first one with Thiago was a breakthough. The one that may standout was last year at Indy (Josef Newgarden) because it was the last one with Chris Griffis. To see him in Victory Lane with the trophy is something I won't forget."***#77 Pagenaud has been given a 10 grid spot penalty following an unapproved engine change following the second practice.IZOD INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #1 RUNNING:6:14 p.m. - Command to start engines. All cars are running and rolling on the grid.Lap 1: GREEN. #38 Rahal leads the field into Turn 1.Lap 5: #38 Rahal leads #67 Newgarden by .6711 of a second.Lap 10: #38 Rahal leads #67 Newgarden by 1.6584 seconds.Lap 20: #38 Rahal leads #67 Newgarden by 4.7571 seconds.Lap 25: #38 Rahal leads #67 Newgarden by 5.1957 seconds.Lap 29: WHITE: #38 Rahal leads #67 Newgarden by 6.5183 seconds.Lap 30: CHECKERED: #38 Rahal wins Heat #1 by 6.2143 seconds.IZOD INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #2 RUNNING:At 6:30 p.m., the ambient temperature was 84 degrees with a relative humidity of 35 percent. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 105 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.6:44 p.m. - Command to start engines. All cars are running and rolling on the grid.Lap 1: GREEN. #8 Barrichello leads the field into Turn 1.Lap 5: 0620 for the leadLap 6: #98 Tagliani makes bid for the lead in turn 1. #11 Kanaan passes #8 Barrichello on outside of Turn 4.Lap 11: #98 Tagliani leads #11 Kanaan by .7985 of a second.Lap 15: #98 Tagliani leads #11 Kanaan by .6700 of a second.Lap 20: #11 Kanaan makes bid for the lead on the outside of Turn 1 and completes the pass off of Turn 4. He leads at the line by .8413 of a second.Lap 25: #11 Kanaan leads #98 Tagliani by 1.9685 seconds.Lap 29: WHITE: #11 Kanaan leads #98 Tagliani by 3.8583 seconds.Lap 30: CHECKERED. #11 Kanaan wins Heat #2 by 3.1255 seconds.IZOD INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #3 RUNNING:At 7 p.m., the ambient temperature was 84 degrees with a relative humidity of 35 percent. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 102 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.7:14 p.m. - Command to start engines. All cars are running and rolling on the grid.Lap 1: Initial start waved off.Lap 2: GREEN. #26 Andretti leads the field into Turn 1.Lap 5: #26 Andretti leads #10 Franchitti .3104 of a second.Lap 8: #10 Franchitti takes lead from #26 Andretti on the outside of Turn 4.Lap 10: #10 Franchitti leads #26 Andretti by .9104 of a second.Lap 15: #10 Franchitti leads #26 Andretti by 1.5496 seconds.Lap 16: #3 Castroneves passes #26 Andretti for second place on the outside of Turn 4.Lap 20: #10 Franchitti leads #3 Castroneves by 1.9394 seconds.Lap 25: #10 Franchitti leads #3 Castroneves by 1.6284 seconds.Lap 29: WHITE: #10 Franchitti leads #3 Castroneves by 1.6121 seconds.Lap 30: CHECKERED. #10 Franchitti wins the pole for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 by winning Heat #3 by 1.4671 seconds over #3 Castroneves.IZOD INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING RACES NOTES: •This is Dario Franchitti's second pole of 2012 and his first pole at Iowa Speedway. It is the 28th pole of his Indy car career. Franchitti won the pole at Milwaukee last weekend. •It is the 77th pole in Indy car racing for Chip Ganassi Racing and the third time a Ganassi car has started on pole at Iowa Speedway. •Helio Castroneves qualified second, his second front-row start in 2012. He started on pole at Barber Motorsports Park in April. It is his fourth front-row start at Iowa Speedway. •Marco Andretti qualified third, his best qualifying performance in 2012. •James Hinchcliffe qualified fourth, his fifth top-five start of 2012. •Ryan Briscoe qualified fifth, his third top-five start of 2012.

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