Dario Franchitti will simultaneously celebrate a milestone and attempt to jump-start his 2013 campaign today at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion will make his 250th career start this afternoon, but currently sits dead last in the points after back-to-back DNFs at St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park to open the season.
But could a rally be in the cards? It's never wise to count out the 39-year-old Scotsman, and yesterday, he came through in the clutch by bagging the Long Beach pole on his final lap of the Firestone Fast Six.
"(Winning the pole) meant a lot," said Franchitti, who captured the 30th pole of his storied career. "We had a very fast race car in Barber, but man, we really made a mess of qualifying. Today, it was nice to go out there and really have a great car and get everything out of it. So, thank you to everyone on the Target team because it's been a tough start to the season, especially for the No. 10 but really with everybody."
Barber winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was forced to settle for second on the grid after Franchitti's last-second heroics. Row 2 is slated to feature defending Long Beach champ Will Power and Takuma Sato from A.J. Foyt Racing, while Row 3 will have one-off dark horse Mike Conway on the inside and current points leader Helio Castroneves on the outside.
Going to the rear of the grid, we'll find Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon starting 26th and 27th respectively after being penalized during the first round of qualifying; Andretti for interference and Dixon for causing the red flag in his session. Oriol Servia was also penalized for playing a role in the Dixon incident, but his infraction was later taken back by IndyCar after an appeal from his Panther DRR team and he'll start 18th.
78-Simona de Silvestro