TORONTO -- Dario Franchitti starts from the pole position in the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place, where he’s won three previous times. Of course, none has been easy and without a bit of good fortune on the rough and tumble 1.75-mile, 11-turn circuit.
He doesn’t expect anything less in today’s 85-lap race (12:30 p.m. ET on ABC and TSN2).
Franchitti recorded a quick lap of 59.3510 seconds in the Firestone Fast Six session to claim the pole in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Will Power, the 2011 pole sitter, will join him on the front row (.0247 of a second behind on his best lap in the 10-minute session).
Click it: Honda Indy Toronto warm-up results
In fact, only .2106 of a second separated the top six drivers.
“As much the satisfaction as anything is beating guys of this caliber. Putting one together, we're all capable of it. You look at the spread between getting past the first round (of qualifying), it's so close," Franchitti said. "It doesn't even take a mistake. It just takes leaving something on the table.
"The fact I was able to get that lap in at the end, I'm proud of that, proud of my Target guys and Honda, too. I was breathing hard after that one."
Nothing can be left on the table in the race – the 10th of 15 on the season. Points are precious, and Franchitti enters the race 69 points behind the front-running Power in the championship standings.
Franchitti’s teammate, Scott Dixon, posted the quickest time in the morning 30-minute warm-up session (59.9117 seconds), while Simon Pagenaud was second (59.9190) in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports entry. Dixon will start fifth. Pagenaud, who qualified 10th, will move up two positions because of 10-grid spot penalties imposed on James Hinchcliffe (ninth) and Alex Tagliani (sixth) for unapproved engine changes.
The top 18 cars were separated by less than a second in the warm-up.
"We're happy to start on the front row," said Power, who has a three-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay. "Obviously, we all know what this race is about. Plenty of crashing and bashing. If we can survive that, be in good shape."