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Franchitti on Pole for Detroit Race 1 – kinda

June 1, 2013


Franchitti was at his best in Friday’s rain qualifying session – Anne Proffit photo


Well, that was fun Friday at Belle Isle.

I shot photos in the pits in the sole practice session for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader for the IZOD IndyCar Series. The face of George Franchitti told it all when son Dario brushed the wall early in the going and was about to come into the pits with a bent right-front wishbone. But we all know how it is – from zero to hero and back again.

In afternoon qualifying Franchitti won pole position for Saturday’s first race on the Belle Isle park circuit that abuts the Detroit River – but the Scot will have to serve a 10-place penalty for an unapproved engine change at Indianapolis and start 11th. He can vindicate this by taking pole for Sunday’s race on this first INDYCAR doubleheader by dominating Saturday’s early morning’s dual qualifying sessions.

Confused by this? Isn’t everyone? Qualifying for the second race on Sunday takes place before the first one on Saturday afternoon. There will be two groups for this endeavor and the fastest car overall gets pole, with his/her group taking odd-numbered grid places for the second Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. The other group starts in even-numbered grid spots.

Qualifying for the first race was “normal” Firestone Fast Six and that Franchitti dominated after bending an upper right wishbone with a wall early in the sole practice session Friday morning. Franchitti sat out the balance of the practice – on the pit stand – while his crew tried to rehab the car in time to rejoin. They didn’t.

Mike Conway is back in INDYCAR for the Duals in Detroit with Dale Coyne Racing – Anne Proffit photo

It didn’t matter as the triple champ earned his 31st pole position, second of the year, beating EJ Viso, equalling his best starting spot. The balance of the Firestone Fast Six are Mike Conway (driving for Dale Coyne Racing in the No. 18), James Jakes from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Tagliani. That gives Honda four of six in the top six at Chevrolet’s title race.

“The Target boys had a busy morning rebuilding the car,” Franhitti acknowledged, “so I really had no experience of the track apart from what I had when we last raced here, that layout. At the end, I had no expectation with the 10-spot grid penalty. I just went out and pushed as hard as I could every lap. Got to thank the boys for turning the car; I’m delighted to have gotten pole here, especially after this morning.”

Words and Photos By Anne Proffit

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