Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti posted the fourth-fastest speed on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, leading the 12-driver Honda field in IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying for Saturday night’s Firestone 550K.
Second-year IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden qualified seventh for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, his best qualifying effort of the season, with Charlie Kimball recording his third top-10 qualifying effort of 2013. He will start eighth for Chip Ganassi Novo Nordisk Racing. James Jakes also continued his recent run of strong qualifying performances this year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and will start 10th.
Justin Wilson, the 2012 winner at Texas, will start 22nd after handling problems prevented the Dale Coyne Racing driver from posting a representative qualifying run, while Tristan Vautier (a scheduled engine change after completing 2,000 miles on his current engine) and Takuma Sato (transmission failure) elected to skip qualifying and will start at the rear of the 24-car field.
Saturday’s 228-lap race, the second oval and first Saturday night race of 2013, starts at 7:30 p.m. with live network television coverage on ABC.
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) qualified 4th, his third top-four qualifying result of 2013: “There’s good speed in the car for a couple of laps [in qualifying], but I’m more interested in how the car performs over a long run. We’re running a little less downforce than last year, and some of that will go away [in the race] as night falls and temperatures cool tomorrow night. That will be the key to the race, and where we focus our efforts [in final practice].”