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Rahal-Letterman, AGR continue battle

7/24/2004

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Vitor Meira won the pole Saturday for
the inaugural Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.

Meira took his first pole of the season, averaging 169.338 mph
at the one-mile, oval course. To earn his first Indy win on Sunday,
Meira will have to hold off series points leader Tony Kanaan, who
qualified second with a speed of 168.597 mph.

Meira sits in 10th place in the standings, 155 points behind
Kanaan.

"I'm really happy,'' Meira said. "The car got better each time
we went out on the track. We got better two- or three-tenths every
time.''

Meira's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Buddy Rice finished
third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., who had the best lap times
during trials at the track in June. Helio Castroneves qualified
fifth.

Scott Dixon hit the wall in the fourth turn on his second lap,
causing heavy damage to his car. He was taken to Froedtert Memorial
Lutheran Hospital for precautionary X-rays on his right knee and
left ankle. He said he expected to race Sunday, but would have to
start at the back with a different car.

Meira said he expects a challenging race Sunday, because lap
times were very close and the flat track with shorter straightaways
would make it difficult to pass. He doubted the finish would be as
close as in Kansas last month, when he finished second to Rice by a
mere .0051 seconds.

"It's really difficult to run side by side here,'' he said.

He'll start the day alongside Kanaan, who is looking for his
second straight win and fourth of the season for Andretti Green
Racing.

Kanaan said he was happy to compete in Milwaukee's first IndyCar
Series race at the Mile. He raced here before with the CART series,
but said much has changed at the century-old track, including a new
grandstand and an improved pit road.

"I always felt we should be racing here all the time,'' he
said.