Tagliani takes Indy pole in early qualifying

By MICHAEL MAROT | May 21, 2011 | 2:43 PM EDT

IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani, of Canada, dances his wife Bronte after he qualified with an average speed of 226.954 mph on the opening day of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Canada's Alex Tagliani has the early pole in qualifying for this year's Indianapolis 500.

Tagliani took the top spot with a four-lap average of 226.954 mph. Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy winner, currently sits second at 226.701. Dario Franchitti, the defending 500 champ, is third at 226.379.

It has been a strange day at the 2.5-mile oval.

All five of Michael Andretti's cars, including Danica Patrick, qualified but were then bumped.

Three-time race winner Helio Castroneves failed to make the fast nine. He is 16th as he tries to win an unprecedented third straight pole.

Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe also has been bumped from the field and failed to qualify on his second attempt following a morning crash.