JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — He might be Australian, but Ryan Briscoe is as quick with an American pop culture reference as he is on the racetrack.

Asked what his secret was to going fast on 1.5-mile oval tracks in the IndyCar series, Briscoe pulled out a famous Tom Cruise line from the 1980s jet fighter-jock movie “Top Gun.”

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” he joked.

Briscoe won the pole position for the IndyCar series race at Chicagoland Speedway, turning a lap average of 216.346 mph in Friday’s qualifying session for Saturday night’s race.

“The car today was just spot on,” Briscoe said. “You never want to be too overconfident, but I was thinking after that run, I was like, ‘Man, that’s got to be hard to beat.'”

It’s the third straight pole position start at Chicagoland for Briscoe, the defending race winner.

Joliet might be on the very outskirts of the Chicago metropolitan area, but it’s still Briscoe’s kind of town.

“We’ve been strong here the last couple years,” Briscoe said. “I really enjoy racing around here. It’s always exciting. It’s a really wide track, it’s pretty smooth and it’s got smooth transitions off the (banked) corners. Really promotes good racing.”

Dario Franchitti qualified second, followed by Will Power and Helio Castroneves — leaving Franchitti, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, surrounded by three Team Penske cars.

Power leads Franchitti by 59 points in the series standings with four races left in the season. Franchitti’s Ganassi teammate, Scott Dixon, qualified a disappointing 15th.

“Yeah, I’m a little lonely up there,” Franchitti said. “I don’t know what happened to Scott during his run. He was pretty quick this morning, I don’t know what the (heck) happened there but he was a little confused by it. So hopefully he’ll be up there pretty quickly to help me out there. Otherwise, I feel like I’m getting ganged up on.”

Marco Andretti qualified fifth.

Danica Patrick was 12th after her car got loose during her qualifying run, but she remained optimistic for the race.

“I had to lift a few times which probably caused me to lose some time, but it’s a long 300 miles tomorrow night,” Patrick said. “I have a great pit crew and I’m confident we will be able to move up during the race, but I wish we were starting farther up the grid.”

Five women qualified for Saturday’s race: Patrick, Ana Beatriz, Sarah Fisher, Milka Duno and Simona de Silvestro. According to IndyCar officials, it is the second time this season that a series-record five female drivers will compete in the same event — and the first time all five qualified for the race.

Briscoe — who won from the pole at Texas earlier this year and had the pole position at Kansas — credited his Penske team with making him fast on 1.5-mile ovals.

“You need a great car,” Briscoe said. “I think there’s so much precision involved with setting up the car on a 1½-mile oval. You need an engineer that understands how you’re feeling and what you can do to find those limits without going over it. Because you step over the edge on one of these tracks, it’s not very pleasant.”


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