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For the first time this IZOD IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville did not make it into final Fast Six qualifying for a road or street course race and, as a result, will start Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix in 14th place.
But Montreal’s Alex Tagliani had his best qualifying attempt of the 2012 season when he finished third in Saturday time trials behind pole winner Scott Dixon and second-fastest Will Power.
Dixon, of course, drives for powerhouse Target Chip Ganassi Racing while Power leads the Team Penske contingent. Tagliani drives for the lesser-funded Bryan Herta Motorsport and is finally coming into his own with Honda power after having started the season stuck with the under-perfoming Lotus engine.
Andretti Autosport driver Hinchcliffe, who will enter the race tied with Helio Castroneves for second in the standings behind Power, was disappointed with his performance. He brushed the wall in the final corner on his second lap of the first round of qualifying and the car didn’t work as well afterward.
“I did the exact same thing at St. Peterburg and the car was okay there but this damaged the left rear. It was an easy fix, and the guys were able to fix it, so we would have been ready to go back out in the next round.
“With 60 seconds to go, out first lap was still in the top six but we just got bumped at the end. We should have been there (in the Fast Six) with Ryan (Hunter-Reay, his teammate, who qualified sixth).
Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti will go off 15th, one position behind Hinchcliffe.
The lone woman in the field, Simona De Silvestro, who is the last remaining Lotus driver in the series, will start 22nd in the 25-car field.
The series has lost a car since Indianapolis. Dragon Racing, which employs Katherine Legge and Sebastien Bourdais, went to court to get out of its Lotus contract and got Chevrolet engines for Indy.
But following the race, Chevrolet said it could only supply the team with engines for one car through the end of the season so the drivers are alternating, with Legge concentrating on the ovals and Bourdais the street and road courses.
Bourdais qualified 10th on Saturday.
– For the second Indy Lights race in a row, David Ostella of Maple crashed out of the contest early. He finished 13th and last at Belle Isle Saturday after qualifying eighth.
– Mark Martin won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover, Del. It was his third pole of the season and the fifth he’s won at Dover. Jimmie Johnson will start beside him on the front row, with Ryan Newman third, Clint Bowyer fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth.
Kurt Busch once again got into it with a reporter after the race. After watching Busch exchange words with another driver on pit road after the race, a writer asked him if he was racing as hard as he could, considering he was on probation, and Busch replied:
“(Probation) refrains me from not beating the shit out of you right now, because you ask me stupid questions.”
Kurt Busch is a professional entertainer and sportsman who should know by now that there are no stupid questions. He obviously can’t stand the heat so it’s time for him to get out of the kitchen.
– Joey Logano won the Nationwide Series race at Dover, with Ryan Truex Jr. second and Brian Scott third. Sam Hornish and Danica Patrick had another run-in, this time with Hornish putting her into the wall.
Logano is dominating the Nationwide Series this season but is in danger of losing his ride in the Sprint Cup because of poor results.
– Rain curtailed qualifying at Circuit ICAR for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race on Sunday so owner points determined the lineup with Scott Steckly starting on pole, with D.J. Kennington right beside him. J.R. Fitzpatrick, who won the season opener at Mosport on May 24 (18th, really) weekend will go off third.
– Joao Barboss and Darren Law won the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Belle Isle, finishing first in Daytona Prototype. Jordan Taylor and Paul Edwards were first in GT, driving a Chevrolet Camaro.
Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, driving the AIM Autosport of Woodbridge Ferrari 458, finished fourth in GT but continue to lead the standings in that class.