Dario Franchitti raised several eyebrows by delivering the fastest lap to take pole position away from oval expert and Target Chip Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon as the championship-deciding qualifying session finishes with all three contenders at the front of the grid in Homestead.
With Miami's race being scene of the 2009 triangular finale, Dixon - who led both practice sessions earlier in the day - was forced to settle for second best as his Scottish team-mate led the way with a final four-lap mean qualifying time of 1:40.537. Briscoe starts third to confirm a real race to the crown, although Penske partner Castroneves is only 11th following a big crash in second practice.
Ed Carpenter hauled the Vision Racing car up to fourth place, just behind the championship battle, with Britain's Alex Lloyd again impressing to start the season's final race from a top five grid slot.
Three Americans line up next with Rahal, Patrick and Andretti together as Brazilians Matos and Moraes round out the top ten ahead of compatriot Castroneves, whose car was repaired in little time after a suspension failure caused a heavy impact earlier in the day
Jaques Lazier's miserable time unfortunately continued and the 3G driver has nothing to lose from 23rd and last on the grid. All eyes will be focussed on the front, however, as the 2009 IndyCar Series prepares to be sewn up.
Title situation ahead of Saturday's showdown:
1. Dixon / Target Chip Ganassi - 2nd on grid - 570 pts
2. Franchitti / Target Chip Ganassi - pole position - 566 pts
3. Briscoe / Penske - 3rd on grid - 562 pts
1 D. Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:40.537
2 S. Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:40.792
3 R. Briscoe Team Penske 1:40.802
4 E. Carpenter Vision Racing 1:40.978
5 A. Lloyd Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 1:41.009
6 G. Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 1:41.033
7 D. Patrick Andretti Green Racing 1:41.222
8 M. Andretti Andretti Green Racing 1:41.401
9 R. Matos Luczo Dragon Racing 1:41.426
10 M. Moraes KV Racing 1:41.432
11 H. Castroneves Team Penske 1:41.510
12 T. Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:41.609
13 J. Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 1:41.625
14 D. Wheldon Panther Racing 1:41.631
15 T. Kanaan Andretti Green Racing 1:41.675
16 S. Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing 1:41.744
17 M. Duno Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:41.818
18 E.J. Viso HVM Racing 1:41.938
19 H. Mutoh Andretti Green Racing 1:42.011
20 M. Conway Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:42.330
21 R. Hunter-Reay A.J. Foyt Racing 1:42.543
22 R. Doornbos HVM Racing 1:43.128
23 J. Lazier Team 3G 1:44.004
Dario Franchitti has claimed his second championship title in the IndyCar series after a sensational win at Homestead-Miami. While his main rivals Briscoe and Dixon were racing on the limit Scotsman Franchitti saved his fuel, which brought him the race victory and championship title. Ryan Briscoe finished second, ahead of Dixon.
1 D. Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:28:28.311
2 R. Briscoe Team Penske + 4.788
3 S. Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing + 6.020
4 T. Kanaan Andretti Green Racing + 1 ronde(n)
5 H. Castroneves Team Penske + 1 ronde(n)
6 H. Mutoh Andretti Green Racing + 2 ronde(n)
7 M. Moraes KV Racing + 2 ronde(n)
8 A. Lloyd Target Chip Ganassi Racing + 2 ronde(n)
9 T. Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold Racing + 3 ronde(n)
10 J. Wilson Dale Coyne Racing + 3 ronde(n)
11 G. Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing + 3 ronde(n)
12 E. Carpenter Vision Racing + 3 ronde(n)
13 R. Hunter-Reay A.J. Foyt Racing + 4 ronde(n)
14 R. Matos Luczo Dragon Racing + 4 ronde(n)
15 M. Conway Dreyer & Reinbold Racing + 5 ronde(n)
16 E.J. Viso HVM Racing + 6 ronde(n)
17 M. Duno Dreyer & Reinbold Racing + 6 ronde(n)
18 S. Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing + 13 ronde(n)
19 D. Patrick Andretti Green Racing + 15 ronde(n)
20 R. Doornbos HVM Racing + 34 ronde(n)
21 D. Wheldon Panther Racing + 50 ronde(n)
22 M. Andretti Andretti Green Racing + 142 ronde(n)
23 J. Lazier Team 3G + 177 ronde(n)
Pretty amazing win for Dario seeing as thats the first Indy car race without a yellow flag, for there strategy to work it was a long shot but it came off. Next year should be good looking at the schedule, more road courses than ovals, hopefully 1 or 2 more teams can mix it with the big 2 for the title.
I would like to see Danica, as for Dario, I think the commentators mentioned F1 and said something about his weight being an issue, there isnt a standout Indy car driver who would suit F1 IMO at the moment.