<
>

Franchitti gets pole in Richmond after rain washes out qualifying

6/29/2007

RICHMOND, Va. -- Season points leader Dario Franchitti was a
happy recipient of the top starting spot for the IndyCar Series'
seventh visit to Richmond International Raceway after rain washed
out qualifying on Friday night.

"I'm pretty happy that it rained," Franchitti said. "Today we
were focusing on the car and balance issues, so we were trying to
get those figured out."

He and Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan will start on
the front row Saturday for the SunTrust Indy Challenge, but the
news was not as good for teammate Marco Andretti.

His car is 14th in owner points, and that's where he'll start,
even though he had a good day of practice on Friday, finishing as
the third-fastest of 19 cars.

Franchitti's sympathy was limited.

With rain forecast and dark skies overhead, "He said, `If it
rains, I'm going to start 14th,' and I said, `If it doesn't rain,
I'm going to start 14th,"' he said.

The rest of the field will have Target Chip Ganassi Racing
teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon in the second row, followed
by defending race and series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and his Team
Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, in the third row.

Danica Patrick, the fourth Andretti Green driver in the race,
will start eighth.

The rain also washed out a United States Auto Club sprint car
race, which was moved to 11 a.m. Saturday. The grandstands will be
cleared after that race is completed.