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MOTOR RACING ROUNDUP

Gamble pays off and Dixon win Indy pole

May 11, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Strategy was almost as important as speed Saturday as Scott Dixon won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 with a big gamble by his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.

Dixon and teammate Dan Wheldon, who took the second spot, both took advantage of Indy's distinctive qualifying format, which allows each entry up to three tries on each of the four days of time trials.

Dixon, who has three pole positions in five tries in the IRL IndyCar Series this season, got the biggest benefit of the team strategy, canceling out a four-lap average of 225.178 mph earlier in the day and making it pay off with four laps at 226.366 that held up for Ganassi's third Indy pole.

"I was part of that decision, so it wasn't really a surprise," Dixon said. "We had been out testing, so we were confident we could go much faster. The tough part came later in the day, knowing whether or not we should do a third attempt [if we got knocked off the pole].

"One thing that was great out there, even on an average lap for us, we still had the field covered as a team. That just goes to show how strong we are this year."

Dixon's pole run came with just over two hours left in the session and only moments after Ryan Briscoe, the first driver to qualify Saturday, made his own gamble in an effort to give team owner Roger Penske a record 15th Indy pole. The team withdrew his earlier speed of 224.833 and Briscoe, who wound up third, put his Team Penske entry on top briefly with a run of 226.080.

Wheldon's earlier speed of 225.840, which had held the pole briefly, was then withdrawn by his team with about 20 minutes left. Wheldon, the 2005 Indy winner, responded with a run that came up just short of Dixon at 226.110.

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Felipe Massa of Ferrari won the pole position for today's Formula One Turkish Grand Prix for the third year in a row.

The two-time defending race champion will start first on the grid at the Istanbul Speed Park after clocking a best lap time of 1 minute 27.617 seconds.

Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren will start second after finishing less than 0.2 of a second behind Massa. Teammate Lewis Hamilton will start third, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

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Andrew Myers started from the pole and went on to lead all 40 laps of the NASCAR Auto Club Late Model division feature race at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale.

It was his fifth win of the season marking the first time in the track's history that a driver has won the first five races of the season.

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