Kanaan Blazes To St. Pete Pole Position

St. Petersburg, Fl. ? Tony Kanaan blazed to the pole position in qualifications for Sunday?s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the second race of the 2008 IndyCar Series season. The talented Brazilian flashed around the 1.8-mile street course at a speed of 103.627 miles per hour. For Kanaan, it marked his ninth career IndyCar pole position and 19th consecutive top-10 start.

Kanaan drove one of four Andretti Green Racing Hondas. For the acclaimed team, they earned their 20th pole position.

?It was a tough run,? Kanaan said after the three-part qualifying position. ?I think the series is so competitive now that you have to give everything. When I finished, I was exhausted. If you look at my suit, I?m all wet. I had to sweat to get this one done.?

With the increased car count, new qualifying procedures were adopted. Two groups of 13 cars went out at a time with the fastest six cars from each group advancing to the second segment. Thereafter, the fastest six cars advanced to the Firestone Fast Six Shootout in an attempt to win the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award.

Champ Car transferee Wil Power grabbed the second starting position in the KV Racing Technology Honda with a speed of 103.499 mph. ?I am a little disappointed that we didn?t get the pole position consider the pat time we posted in the previous session. I am happy to be on the front row, and it is payback to the team.?

Another Champ Car veteran, Justin Wilson, pushed the Newman Haas Lanigan Racing entry to third fastest at 103.444 with 2007 race winner Helio Castroneves garnering fourth fastest at 103.438.

Ryan Briscoe timed fifth fastest followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Seventh and eighth fastest qualifiers were Oriol Servia and Dan Wheldon.

Rookies Graham Rahal and Franck Perea were ninth and tenth on the speed charts.

Trailing them were Darren Manning, Marco Andretti, Homestead winner Scott Dixon and rookie Hideki Mutoh.

Flashy Danica Patrick struggled to qualify 19th. ?We are within a couple of tenths,? she said. ?Earlier today we were two seconds off, which means we made a lot of improvements.?

Twenty-six cars qualified with Bruno Junqueira bringing up the rear of the qualifying field.

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