Franchitti Grabs Toronto IndyCar Pole


“After the poor results we had since the beginning of the season on tracks we were hoping to do really good, coming off a pretty strong end of the season last year, we were definitely starting to wonder if we could turn the boat around a little bit. It definitely feels like this weekend we did. We started off pretty much the same way the same way with a ton of understeer on street courses. Finally we found some recipes to slowly decrease it. Finally I can feel like I’m doing something behind the wheel rather than going along for the ride.

“For sure, when you’ve been deep in the hole, finally you seem to be able to see some light, it feels really good. Pretty excited for the boys. It’s been a lot of work, just like everybody else, but when you don’t have the results, it’s twice as hard.”

Will Power of Team Penske was third at 1:00.061 (105.193 mph) in a Dallara/Chevrolet and Kanaan was fourth at 1:00.1179 (105.093 mph) in another Dallara/Chevrolet.

Kanaan is not a fan of the standing starts – at least not in the IndyCar Series.

“Because IndyCar for me, it’s always been about rolling starts,” Kanaan said. “We’re talking about tradition and stuff. Maybe tomorrow I’ll end up in the end of the race saying I love it. That’s just because of the tradition. That’s my preference.

“I’m not against it. It’s just you guys asked my opinion. I said I don’t like it.”

James Jakes was fifth in a Dallara/Honda at 1:00.322 (104.737 mph) with Dixon rounding out the Fast Six in a Dallara/Honda at 1:00.322 (104.737 mph).

Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Indy Toronto winner and series champion, topped the speed charts in today’s morning practice session with the No. 1 DHL Chevy. After advancing through the first round of qualifying, Hunter-Reay was running on pace to advance to the Firestone Fast Six and contend for the pole when the No. 14 car slowed in front of Hunter-Reay and then found its way to the tires in Turn 1 bringing out a red flag. Hunter-Reay lost his fast lap and will grid from the seventh position for his first career standing start.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We had a great car today; we led the first practice. I’d like to thank the guys, the crew on the No. 1 DHL team for giving me a great car – I’d like to thank (Takuma) Sato for knocking us out of the session again today. It’s unfortunate but we’ll be fighting again tomorrow, we’ll be fighting again on Sunday… it’s just out of our control so what do you do? We’ll just pack up and hope for a better day tomorrow.”

Hunter-Reay continues to nurse a hand injury he suffered in a pit lane crash at Pocono Raceway last Sunday.

“It’s a concern for sure – it’s part of it,” Hunter-Reay said. “We don’t have any power steering at all in these cars, and when you get into an issue where you touch a wall or get in to it with another car the wheel will whip around and a lot of guys are hurting their thumbs, tearing ligaments and stuff like that. Certainly not a fun situation and not fun driving with it here at Toronto.”

Andretti starts 11th.

“You always want to do your laps in the end, but I’m sure I’m in the same boat as everyone else so I can’t use that final red flag as an excuse,” he said. “We tried something for the second qualifying round that didn’t really help, so it’s a bummer for the Dr. Pepper crew. I think the race tomorrow will come down to attrition. Mistakes will be made during the race, but hopefully not from us. Hopefully there isn’t too much carnage, but there might be with the first standing starts. I think the fans are going to be in for a good show.”

Hinchcliffe just missed advancing to the second round of qualifying today and will start from the 14th position for tomorrow’s 85-lap event. His best finish on the streets of Toronto came in 2011 when he crossed the line 14th. Tomorrow will be Hinchcliffe’s third Indy Toronto start.

“This is certainly not the way we wanted qualifying to go,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad for all the fans here (they) deserved better than that, but we’ll put our heads down tomorrow. It’s a long race and I know we’ll have a good car… we missed it by less than a tenth (of a second) to get through (to the Firestone Fast Six) and its heart breaking to miss it by so little. But it’s a long race and this is a track you can pass on and you can plan strategy to your advantage, so fingers crossed that when it counts when the points are paying tomorrow we’ll be at the right end.”