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“It was a tough day,” the Australian said. “There was intense competition out there and we just didn’t have the speed. … But we’re in the race, so now the focus shifts to the race and where we’re strong to be ready for next Sunday.”

Dixon, Franchitti and Kimball seemed just as determined to better their times, sitting in their cars hoping for another qualifying run. But as the shadows grew deeper over the frontstretch and the deadline neared for the fastest cars to take another stab at the pole, all they could do was get out of their cars and yield to those who were having far better days.

To hear Franchitti, in the midst of a tough season where he’s ranked 15th in points, he seems to be right where he wants to be.

Starting 16th last May, the Scot ended up with his third Indy win and can join A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser as four-time champions. This week offers an opportunity to make up ground with the car’s setup while next Sunday provides another chance to finish better than he started.

Franchitti will have plenty of teammates joining him in that pursuit.