Transitional Drivers No More As Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson Take Front Row

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IApril 4, 2009

IRL Transitional Drivers No More

Last year the drivers who came over to the IndyCar Series from the Champ Car World Series were bestowed the dubious moniker of “Transitional.”  Well it is time to drop that prefix as two Champ Car refugees has placed themselves firmly of the front row for tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Graham Rahal became the youngest IndyCar Series pole winner.  Last year’s race winner set a blistering quick time of 1 minute, 02.4110 seconds securing the PEAK Pole Award presented by AutoZone.   

Even more surprising was the performance of Justin Wilson and Dale Coyne Racing.  Always the “little team that could”, Dale Coyne Racing was the perennial underdog of the Champ Car World Series and many a fan favorite.  Wilson’s time of 1:02.4604 around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St Petersburg circuit secured Dale Coyne Racing’s it best starting position in its long history

Andretti Green Racing’s Tony Kanaan will share the second row with Ryan Briscoe in his Team Penske Dallara.  Making his debut for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Dario Franchitti will start alongside Will Power also debuting for a new team with Penske.

The top rookie qualifier is Raphael Matos starting ninth for Luczo Dragon Racing behind reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani driving for Conquest Racing.

Mike Conway damaged his car as segment two came to a close and the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing couldn’t make repairs in time to answer the start for the final segment.

Other notable drivers did not perform well.  Marco Andretti will start in the 18th spot and his teammate at AGR, Danica Patrick continued to not live up to her hype and will start in 15th spot.

Photo Courtesy of the IRL.