Franchitti gets pole in Richmond after rain washes out qualifying

Updated: June 29, 2007, 10:49 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press