After struggling last week in Indianapolis, Dario Franchitti would win the pole for the first of two races this weekend in Detroit. It marks his 31st IZOD IndyCar Racing Series pole. The Scotland man would lead the Firestone Fast Six with a lap of one minute, 19.3311 seconds on the 2.346-mile, 13- turn street circuit.
“I think I was a longshot to get through Q1; I did four laps in practice this morning,” Franchitti said. “It was interesting obviously with the rain in the first session, getting through in that, and then the drying track and fully drive in the end, so we had all the conditions there.
“I have to thank the engineering group. We had a really tough Indianapolis and to back with a pole is great, obviously with a 10-spot grid penalty. I’ll do the best from where we start.”
However, Franchitti won’t start the race from the first position. He would receive a 10-grid spot penalty, starting 11th, due to an unapproved engine change last weekend at Indianapolis.
Instead, E.J. Viso who qualified second will lead the field to the green flag. It ties his best qualifying effort of the season.
“Very excited. I think it has given me some good chances to stay in the front and be sure I’m going to have a competitive car,” Viso said. “We have proven that so far. And I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mike Conway qualified third, marking his second appearance in the Fast Six this season in two starts this year. James Jakes qualified fourth, with Ryan Hunter-Reay rounding out the top five.
“I’ve been pretty happy with the pace all weekend, especially in practice this morning,” Jakes said. “The balance with the reds changed quite a bit, so we still have quite a bit of work to do. With the weather forecast for (June 1), starting as high up as you can is going to be key, and we got a great position.”
Alex Tagliani, who led the morning practice session, qualified a season-high sixth.
“It’s really nice to be back in the front,” Tagliani said. “We didn’t know it yet, but the car was really fast so we were really happy about that. Qualifying car was really good, too. We made some changes and at the end we knew we had a chance at the pole and we kind of messed up the car a bit. So that was unfortunate because the car was really fast, so hopefully we can make it up in the race.”
Also incurring 10-grid spot penalties for Race 1 are Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal because of unapproved engine changes at Indianapolis.