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Helio Castroneves wins pole for Indianapolis 500

MOTOR RACING

The Brazilian driver had a four-lap average of 224.864 mph on the 2.5-mile oval.

May 10, 2009|Associated Press

A gleeful Helio Castroneves was back on top of the racing world Saturday, winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

On a windy Saturday full of strategic guesses on when to qualify and when to stay off the track, the charismatic Brazilian driver -- back in racing less than a month after being acquitted of charges of tax evasion -- took a big gamble, voiding a fast qualifying effort from earlier in the day and knocking Penske Racing teammate Ryan Briscoe off the pole.

His four-lap average of 224.864 mph on the historic 2.5-mile oval came with less than two hours remaining in the six-hour opening round of time trials for the May 24 race.

Briscoe and several other challengers, including former Indy winner Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and 20-year-old Graham Rahal, then took shots at knocking Castroneves off the top spot without success.

Castroneves, who previously won poles here in 2003 and 2007, gave boss Roger Penske his record 15th Indy pole.

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Formula One

Championship leader Jenson Button won the pole for Formula One's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona with a record time of 1 minute 20.527 seconds. Sebastian Vettel will start from the second spot.

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Irwindale

Tim Huddleston of Agoura Hills started from the pole and led the entire race, winning the NASCAR Auto Club Late Model division 50-lap feature race at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. The victory was Huddleston's first of the season and moved him within 22 points of series leader Nick Joanides.

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