Dixon claims pole for IndyCar race at Iowa

The Sports NetworkJuly 11, 2014 

Newton, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Dixon won the pole for Saturday's 300- lap IndyCar Series race, while his teammate, Tony Kanaan, qualified second to give Chip Ganassi Racing a sweep of the front starting row at Iowa Speedway.

Dixon, the three-time and defending IndyCar champion, posted a two-lap average speed of 186.256 mph, which set a new track qualifying record at this 0.875- mile, variably-banked oval. He became the ninth different driver to win a pole in 12 races this season. Dixon also earned his 21st career pole, tying Gil de Ferran for 13th on IndyCar's all-time pole winners list.

Dixon is currently eighth in the point standings and has yet to win a race this year. His best finish of the season is third, which came in March at Barber Motorsports Park. Dixon's last pole occurred in September 2013 in Baltimore.

"It's definitely a good thing to see the Ganassi cars at the top," Dixon said. "We had been stuck in sort of a rut, and it had been a while since my last pole. We're winless, so we have a bit of work to do. It definitely will be a tough one."

Dixon started on the pole at Iowa in 2007 (inaugural race) and '08 but has yet to win at this short track. No driver has won from the pole in the seven races here. Dixon's best finish at Iowa is third, which happened in 2011.

Kanaan, the 2010 race winner here, held the provisional pole with his two-lap average of 185.891 mph until Dixon made his attempt.

"The result will be tomorrow [Saturday's race], but obviously had a great qualifying effort from the team," Kanaan said. "I'm pleased with the car. The way the qualifying works, which is by luck, you just got to draw your number. Drawing an early number hurt us just a little bit. But front row, it's all right."

Helio Castroneves from Team Penske qualified third, while Ryan Briscoe from Ganassi took the fourth spot. Rookie Carlos Munoz was fifth.

Sebastien Bourdais, Charlie Kimball, Marco Andretti, Will Power and Ed Carpenter completed the top-10.

Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 19th after starting on the pole and winning last Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway.

"We made some changes to the [car] from practice, because we thought we could be just a little better," Montoya said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I wasn't sure the car was going to come back when it stepped out on me. We have a lot of laps to make something happen, so I'm not worried."

James Hinchcliffe, who won at Iowa last year, will start 14th.

Power and Castroneves are presently tied in the championship standings. Simon Pagenaud is 44 points behind the Penske teammates, while Montoya, in his first season driving for Penske, is 55 points out of the lead.

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