Team Penske has come to Fontana better prepared than anyone. They proved that on Friday as they took the top 3 spots in qualifying. The only problem, was that Will Power bumped Helio Castroneves off of the pole, which would have given the Brazilian a much-needed bonus point in the championship. AJ Allmendinger qualified in 3rd position, in his final race in the series driving for Roger Penske.
Championship leader Scott Dixon qualified 7th, and Castoneves 2nd, but both drivers will serve a 10-place grid penalty for the start of tomorrow night’s race.
Dixon enters the final race of the season with a 25 point lead over Castroneves. If Scott finishes in the top 5, there is nothing Helio can do, even by winning the race. Helio must finish in the top 6 to have any chance. If Dixon or Kanaan win the race on Saturday night, they will be awarded a $250,000 bonus for winning 2 of the 3 Triple Crown races.
Here are the results of the last 4 times Dixon and Castroneves have raced here.
The battle lines have been drawn. It’s a showdown between Ganassi and Penske, one looking for his third championship, while the other seeks his first to go along with an already impressive resume. The winner of the race will decide the Manufacturer’s Title for this year, as both Honda and Chevrolet have won 9 races this season. It all comes down to Saturday night, under the lights. The MAV500 begins at 8 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.