FORT WORTH, Texas – Alex Tagliani led a Honda sweep in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway, where drivers debated the rule package mandated by IndyCar as the series returns to a high-banked oval for the first time since Dan Wheldons death.
Theres been concern throughout the industry in the lead-up to tonights race, particularly among drivers who are unanimously opposed to the pack-style racing that was cited as a factor in Wheldons fatal October accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The drivers met as a group last weekend in Detroit and voted to recommend less downforce for the cars at Texas, the first 1.5-mile banked oval since last season. IndyCar accepted the recommendation, but the drivers were divided on the end result Friday.
The intent is to make it safe, and for everyones peace of mind, we need to leave here after what happened in Vegas with a safe race, and I think thats important in the mind of everyone, Tagliani said.
Tagliani turned a lap at 215.691 mph late in Fridays qualifying session to bump Dario Franchitti from the top starting spot, and become the first driver in seven races this season not from Penske Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing to win the pole.
Franchitti went 215.646 to qualify second, Graham Rahal qualified third and Scott Dixon was fourth to give Honda the top four spots.
TRUCKS: In Fort Worth, Texas, Johnny Sauter took the checkered flag again at Texas, and this time got the NASCAR Truck Series victory.
Sauter passed teammate Matt Crafton for the lead with 22 laps left and went on to become the seventh driver to win in the first seven races.
Sauters fifth career victory was his first since the rain-shortened season finale at Homestead last November.
Crafton finished second ahead of Joey Coulter, who got his career-best finish on his 22nd birthday.