Originally posted on Indy Racing Revolution  |  Last updated 5/19/12

MOTEGI, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 19: Ryan Briscoe, drives the #6 Team Penske Dallara Honda during the IndyCar Series Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 Mile on September 19, 2009 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Ryan Briscoe's four-lap average of 226.484 mph withstood a furious challenge from James Hinchcliffe -- who came within three one-thousandths of a mile per hour of the Australian's speed -- to give the Australian pole position for next Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

Briscoe raised the bar early in the 90-minute "Fast Nine" shootout, besting the early target set by Marco Andretti's 225.456 mph run. But later on in the session, a 227.009 mph warmup lap by Hinchcliffe on his first attempt served notice that the Canadian would have a legit shot at taking the pole.

In fact, Hinchcliffe had it -- until the final lap, a 226.137 mph circuit that knocked his four-lap average to 226.481 mph and the middle of the front row instead of P1 where Briscoe stood.

Hinchcliffe's Andretti Autosport teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, attempted to go after Briscoe's time in the final minutes, but couldn't quite muster enough speed and settled for a third-place starting position with a 226.240 mph average.

Row 2 will be made up of Marco Andretti, Will Power and Helio Castroneves. The third row will feature Josef Newgarden (the lone Honda-powered driver in a Chevrolet-dominated Fast Nine), Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso.

More to come later tonight on IndyRacingRevolution.com!
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