Ryan Briscoe claims pole position for Indy 500
Scott Dixon 15th fastest at IndyJULIAN LINDEN
Australia's Ryan Briscoe captured pole position for next week's Indianapolis 500 after setting the fastest time in today's official qualifying session.
Briscoe, driving for the Roger Penske team, booked his place at the front of the grid for the 96th running of the race after setting a four-lap average speed of 226.484 mph (364.490kph) around the track.
"This is huge man, this is unbelievable," said Briscoe, who qualified second fastest three years ago and became the first Australian to get pole.
"Those four laps were so good and so consistent. Getting the pole at Indy is huge. It feels good to get my first one here."
Canada's James Hinchcliffe was second fastest, just a fraction behind Briscoe with an average time of 226.481 mph (364.485 kph).
It was the closest margin between the top two qualifiers in the history of the race.
"Three one-thousands of a second over the course of four laps," Hinchcliffe said. "I'll think long and hard about that."
Hinchcliffe's team mate Ryan Hunter-Reay joined the front row with the third quickest time, while another of their team mates, Marco Andretti, was fourth.
Andretti was joined on the second row by Australia's Will Power, the current Indycar points leader, and Brazilian driver Helio Castroneves.
Another Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello, racing in the event for the first time after a long career in Formula One, qualified 10th.
"I can't tell you how I was feeling just before I entered the car," said Barrichello. "I was just eager to get in. I'm proud, man, I'm proud."
Although the top positions are decided, qualifying continues Sunday with the race to take place on May 27.
New Zealand's Scott Dixon was 15th fastest today.