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Qualifying at Houston rained out, Dixon awarded pole

<p>One day after winning the first race in the Grand Prix of Houston weekend doubleheader, Scott Dixon got a gift from Mother Nature.</p>

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - One day after winning the first race in the Grand Prix of Houston weekend doubleheader, Scott Dixon got a gift from Mother Nature.

A rainstorm that moved over the 1.683-mile, 10-turn Reliant Park street circuit washed out Sunday morning's qualifying session. The starting grid for race 2, which is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET, was determined by entrant points. It puts Dixon at the front of the field. Dixon does not receive the bonus point for the pole.

Helio Castroneves, the current points leader, will share the front row with him.

Dixon's No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team leads the entrant points (505-498), since Castroneves' No. 3 Team Penske team was docked 15 points for a post-race technical inspection violation at Texas Motor Speedway. Castroneves' lone win this season came in June at Texas.

"If (qualifying) were at a typical road course, it wouldn't have been an issue with this amount of rain, but street courses seems to puddle a lot," Dixon said.

Dixon's victory on Saturday allowed him to trim Castroneves' lead in the championship standings from 49 points to just eight. Castroneves finished a season-worst 18th after he had qualified a season-low 21st. He experienced a gearbox issue and spent nine laps on pit lane for repairs.

"We probably would have liked to qualify," Dixon noted. "It seems Helio is struggling a bit this weekend. To have that separation on the grid similar to yesterday would have been nice."

Race 2 in Houston is the penultimate event on the 2013 IndyCar Series schedule. The season concludes on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway, a two-mile oval in Fontana, Calif.

Simon Pagenaud will start third, followed by Marco Andretti and Ryan-Hunter- Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion. Sixth through 10th will be: Justin Wilson, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball.

Simona De Silvestro will roll off from the 15th starting spot after she finished a career-best second on Saturday.

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