Helio Castroneves will begin his defense of the SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio from the pole after a rain shower interrupted WRIC Pole Qualifying. With half of the drivers having completed a qualifying lap, Castroneves was actually on the track getting up to speed when the rain came. IndyCar Series rules call for the drivers to line up based on the combined speed from both practice sessions. As a result, Castroneves will start first for the second time in his career at Richmond International Raceway. Joining Castroneves on the front row will be former series co-champion Scott Sharp.
In addition, qualifying for the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race and tonight's USAC National Sprint Car Series race were also set by practice speeds. (See separate results).
"I'll take it," Castroneves said. "I'm not upset that we didn¿t qualify. At the same time, it¿s frustrating because this is the third time this year that it happened. But at the same time, I¿m happy. Every time you have a chance to start on the pole position, without having to go qualifying, it¿s a blessing in disguise, literally. We felt that we have a very strong car. According to practice times, we have a very strong car. We¿re looking good. I like this place. It¿s very challenging. I think it¿s probably the road course of the ovals. It¿s so hard and physically demanding. Small changes make a big differences here."
The SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio will run "under the lights" tomorrow night, Saturday, June 24 at Richmond International Raceway. Saturday night¿s ticket includes a seat for the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race. Reserved seats are only $35 and general admission tickets are just $30. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission seating both nights with a ticketed adult. Please call 1-866-455-RACE (7223) or visit www.rir.com for tickets
Starting lineup for the SunTrust Indy Challenge IRL IndyCar Series event on the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed. Note: Lineup set by speeds from combined practice sessions after qualifications were rained out.
1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 173.472
2. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 172.712
3. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 172.561
4. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 172.492
5. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 172.068
6. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 171.972
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 171.950
8. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 171.802
9. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 171.413
10. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 171.271
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 171.055
12. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 170.586
13. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 170.551
14. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 170.056
15. (16) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 169.880
16. (17) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 168.303
17. (51) Eddie Cheever Jr., Dallara-Honda, 168.145
18. (14) Felipe Giaffone, Dallara-Honda, 163.369
19. (5) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 163.349