Almost as if to prove last weekend's oval-ish victory at Motegi was no fluke, Tony Kanaan has gone and won himself the pole at Kansas. This marks the first time in 16 races a member of the Big Four/Red Scare/Red and White Brigade/Four Horsemen of the open-wheel apocalypse have not won the pole. Huzzah for parity!
This weekend also represents a different type of apocalypse as "blogger buddy" (that's Jamie Little's term, not mine) Pressdog is live and reporting from the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 this week. How he got in is not to be asked, but if you want a different kind of trackside report check out his coverage.
Meanwhile, here is the pecking order for tomorrow festival of speed from the race no longer held around Independence Day. Should be fun to see if nicer weather helps attract a crowd. Well, that and Milkalicious serving as the official ICS caboose (I'm talking about the car, boys) this weekend.
1. Castroneves - If you happened to catch the last two races you might have noticed that Spiderman pulled away from the field at the start of both events. He dinged his car at Motegi, but I'll assume he will return to the front despite finishing no better than 6th here the last 3 years.
2. Wheldon - Hold you arms as far apart as you can. OK, a little farther than that. That's about the margin of defeat for Well Done the last few races at Kansas. He led a combined 156 laps in both races, so you can assume he will find the front at some point.
3. Kanaan - Congratulations, you won the pole. Now try winning this year on something other than fuel strategy so we can all breath easier about the level of competition. Oh by the way, El Nariz has never finished worse than 5th at Kansas.
4. Hornish - He's the defending champion and even finished second twice in his Panther Racing days. But Uncle Sam hasn't looked his dominant self at all this season. Three races and the only laps he's lead were when Kanaan and Wheldon pitted for fuel last week.
5. Dixon - Don't forget that while his teammate "Captain Hairdo" was running away at Homestead, Iceman was unchallenged in P2. Incredibly, never better than 4th in four tries at Kansas.
6. Franchitti - Kanaan referred to him as his "wingman" this week, although Mr Judd will be starting a couple rows back from his teammate. Dario has two 4ths in the last three years, so he could make this a six car race.
7. Meira - Had circumstances been different, Meira might have been thought of as a dark horse. Three podiums at Kansas in his last three attempts are unmatched, but Panther has looked shaky so far and the Mirror Man is said to still have some back pain from his crash in practice last week.
8. Scheckter - Remember how all the Vision Racing entries looked so competitive at Homestead? Well, here we are again at a 1.5 mile oval and Tomas has qualified 7th - right where he finished last year at this track for Tony George's team. Let's see if Homestead wasn't a fluke and if they can keep his camera mount on the car.
9 - 18.Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher, AJ Foyt IV, Darren Manning, Kosuke Matsuura, Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice, Scott Sharp, Jeff Simmons - Let's just cut the through the grabage and give a bunch of shrugs for this group. Arguments could be made for or against any of them in this race, none of them very vehemently. Just keep Spock and Sukiyaki apart if possible.
19. Roth - Different race, same Moto Marty. However, with the additional entries he's poised to become the Leader of the Back Pack.
20. Barron - Why are they still qualifying behind Marty Roth? Maybe the haven't worked out all of their mechanical issues from Homestead in the last month. Bummer.
21. Duno - Don't wreck and don't cause anyone to wreck. And be sure to smile at all those reporters who have said you shouldn't be here before you've even turned a single lap. But seriously, don't wreck.
Money Says: "Dan Wheldon will emerge victorious at Kansas. God has told me that Penske will be back....just not quite yet."
Can any among us doubt him at this point? MoneyCJ also said something about Wheldon being "hungry" although as I recall Dan shouldn't have any trouble with meals. Enjoy the show!
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