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IRL qualifying at TMS dominated by Honda
June 11, 2004
TERRY BLOUNT
The Dallas Morning News

FORT WORTH, Texas – Two weeks after the Indianapolis 500, one thing remains constant.

Honda is in a league of its own.

Dario Franchitti won the pole Thursday night for the Bombardier 500 on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, the fastest of five Honda-powered cars at the top of the qualifying list.

Honda drivers qualified and finished in the top seven spots at Indy, and that domination continued at TMS.

Franchitti posted a lap at 209.609 mph in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda for Andretti Green Racing. He kept Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice from winning his second consecutive pole, knocking Rice off the top spot near the end of the qualifying session.

Franchitti, who raced six years in CART before moving with Michael Andretti's team to the IRL last year, did not compete in either of the TMS races last season. He missed most of 2003 with a back injury from a motorcycle accident near his family home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"The team has stood by me, and it's nice to pay them back with a pole," Franchitti said. "We were quite confident going in. We knew what we had was going to work."

As expected, speeds were dramatically slower than the IRL race at TMS last October. Smaller engines and changes in the aerodynamic set-up on the cars were made for safety reasons.

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I went to the IRL race last night and it was dominated by a Honda! Tony Kanaan who drives the number 11 7 Eleven Honda machine led 145 of 200 laps.
 
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