Helio Castroneves shattered his own track qualifying record to win the pole position for the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix, setting a new record for the historic 3.4 mile Grand Prix course. All six drivers who moved on to the Firestone Fast 6 session broke the old qualifying mark set by Castroneves back in 2005. In claiming his 21st career IndyCar Series pole, Helio became the first driver to lap the fabled Grand Prix course at over 136 mph. Castroneves lap time of 1: 29.1919 was 0.3767 seconds faster than defending race winner Scott Dixon's 1:29.5686 (135.449 mph).
Row two for tomorrow's race will have 2007 Indy 500 winner and Series point leader Dario Franchitti (1:29.6764, 135.286 mph) and two-time 2007 race winner Tony Kanaan (1: 29.7843, 135.124 mph). Row three has defending Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. (1:29.9676, 134.849 mph) and Marco Andretti (1:30.1379, 134.594 mph)
Pole sitter Castroneves was very pleased with his lap, remarking, "We did a good time and decided to wait. When Scott went out, I decided I had to go out again. I saw what Scott was doing and I decided I had to go. The car was pretty good. It was a very good lap. It was an excellent team effort. We did just what we needed to do to get into the Fast 6. If you make a mistake in single car qualifying, you won't be in the Fast 6. If you mess up in Fast 6, you still have time to make it up. I was able to take risks in Fast 6. You have to be fast and smooth here at Watkins Glen. I have to be smart tomorrow to beat Dixon. We have to keep on our toes and watch for those unexpected situations. Every time you go to a historic place, it's awesome."
Said second qualifier Dixon: "It's good to know we've got the speed. Our race car has been better than our qualifying car. It's not difficult to get an average lap together, but putting it all together is quite difficult."
Marco Andretti was the first driver to beat the old track record in single-car qualifying, posting a lap of 1:30.5637 (133.961 mph). Sam Hornish Jr. was next to eclipse the freshly minted record, running a 1: 30.5495 (133.982 mph), followed soon after by Scott Dixon, who improved the record a little further: 1:30.5212 (134.024 mph). All six drivers in the Firestone Fast 6 session would go on to post laps faster than Dixon's short lived record.
Sarah Fisher continued her difficult weekend when she wrecked on her qualifying lap, meaning she will now start at the back of the field in tomorrow's race.
Tickets for the race weekend celebration during the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix, or the NASCAR Nextel Cup at The Glen and Zippo 200 weekend August 9-12 are still available. For tickets and additional race weekend information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE, log onto www.TheGlen.com , buy online at www.racetickets.com or stop by The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.