Briscoe and Rahal break Milwaukee IRL record
Briscoe, driving the No. 6 car, set a four-lap qualifying track record of 1 minute, 26.7966 seconds (168.394 mph) at The Milwaukee Mile.
Graham Rahal will start 2nd in the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing after posting an average of 168.117 mph (1:26.9392). Both front-row starters bettered Marco Andretti's 2008 record of 1:26.9591.
Tony Kanaan, a two-time winner at Milwaukee, will start third beside 2008 series champion Scott Dixon. Mario Moraes and Hideki Mutoh share Row 4, and Danica Patrick and Dario Franchitti will start from Row 5.
"I knew when I was in front of (Graham) Rahal it was going to be good," Briscoe said. "He seems to get around this place pretty good and was on the front row last year. The car was good. I was a bit worried about my teammate (Helio Castroneves) and the Target boys (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti), but thankfully the time held up.
"We won from 11th last year, so hopefully starting on the front row can get me away from the chaos that always happens the first couple of laps. I had a good race car last year, so hopefully we can replicate that tomorrow."
Briscoe's teammate, Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time Milwaukee pole sitter Helio Castroneves, went from hero last week to zero this week. Castroneves stuffed it in the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on his first qualifying lap and will start dead last.
“The McDonald’s car felt pretty good but I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap and our fourth lap time was three-tenths slower than the previous one," said Rahal.
"If that hadn’t happened I think we would have had pole. We sat on pole so many times this year that we are a little bit spoiled. At the end of the day the McDonald’s boys are doing a great job. Pretty much we showed up today exactly how we ended last year because we are pretty competitive. We worked on race trim in the morning and the car was pretty quick. We’re going to put on the setup we had for the race last year. The car was good but I made a mistake. If there was a race from last year that still bothers me it was this one. The McDonald’s boys practiced stops this morning. If I hit my marks, all our stops go well and get to the end, we should be able to have a good finish and be a contender. We have a shot at it tomorrow.”
KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes qualified fifth. Moraes, making his second appearance on the historic Milwaukee one mile short oval, posted a four-lap average of 166.791 mph. He will grid the #5 Azul – Votorantim - KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine on the inside of Row #3.
“I am very happy with our qualifying position,” Moraes said. “The KV Racing Technology team has been working really hard since last weekend’s Indy 500 and I spent a lot of time at the shop talking to the engineers. This is just my second time at Milwaukee, so I haven’t got that much experience on short ovals, but after our performance today I am confident that we have a good car for the race tomorrow.”
Vision Racing drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ed Carpenter certainly are not happy with their 18th and 19th respective starting positions for Sunday's ABC Supply Co., Inc., A.J. Foyt 225. Their collective efforts just haven't yielded much in the way of results since unloading the cars this weekend at The Milwaukee Mile.
Hunter-Reay was able to put together a four-lap qualifying average of 160.381 mph in the No. 21 IZOD/Vision Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine, which was slightly faster than he had been able to go in practice early in the day, but it still wasn't the speed he was looking for in the car.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, qualified first): "I knew when I was in front of (Graham) Rahal, it was going to be good. He seems to get around this place pretty good and was on the front row last year. The car was good. I was a bit worried about my teammate (Helio Castroneves) and the Target boys, but thankfully the time held up. We won from 11th last year, so hopefully starting on the front row can get me away from the chaos that always happens the first couple of laps. I had a good race car last year, so hopefully we can replicate that tomorrow." (About Helio starting in the back): "He always seems to win the races when they put him in the back, so I'll be looking for him in my mirrors, for sure."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, second): "The McDonald's car felt pretty good, but I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap, and our fourth lap time was three-tenths (of a second) slower than the previous one. If that hadn't happened, I think we would have had pole. We sat on pole so many times this year that we are a little bit spoiled. At the end of the day, the McDonald's boys are doing a great job. Pretty much we showed up today exactly how we ended last year, because we are pretty competitive. We worked on race trim in the morning, and the car was pretty quick. We're going to put on the setup we had for the race last year. The car was good, but I made a mistake. If there was a race from last year that still bothers me, it was this one. The McDonald's boys practiced stops this morning. If I hit my marks, all our stops go well and get to the end, we should be able to have a good finish and be a contender. We have a shot at it tomorrow."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, third): "I have to thank the whole AGR team, the safety crews, and my personal trainer Ryan (Harber) for not only getting me back together but also rebuilding the car in time. While I'm not 100 percent back together, I'm here and very thankful for that. Qualifying went well today for Team 7-Eleven, and I think we will be competitive tomorrow. Hopefully we can get this car into victory circle at the end of the race."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fourth): "We went out on stickers and tried to do our qualifying sim straight out of the box, and the car was not really very good. Considering that we made the changes and got out here and ended up fourth, really only a tenth (of a second) or so off of pole; you know it's pretty close. We concentrated a lot on race setup, and the race car was good, so I'm pretty confident that we can hopefully improve three spots."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 KV Racing Technology/Votorantim, fifth): "I am very happy with our qualifying position. The KV Racing Technology team has been working really hard since last weekend's Indy 500, and I spent a lot of time at the shop talking to the engineers. This is just my second time at Milwaukee, so I haven't got that much experience on short ovals, but after our performance today I am confident that we have a good car for the race tomorrow."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, sixth): "We had a good run today. We were quick in the morning session but then struggled with a fuel leak at the end of practice. The No. 27 guys worked really hard to get the issue fixed in time for qualifying. I'm excited for the race tomorrow and hope to have a good solid finish."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola, seventh): "I was hoping for a better qualifying run and felt the No. 7 car was strong enough to qualify into the top five. We have a stable, strong car and hopefully we can work our way through the field tomorrow and stay out of trouble. I have started in the last row before here at the (Milwaukee) Mile and made it into the top five without a pit stop, so I'm still confident we can have a great race tomorrow."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 TOM TOM, eighth): "The first lap was pretty terrible; loose in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2, and in (Turns) 3 and 4 it was a really big understeer. I just worked with what I had in the car and got it with a better balance for the second lap. And the third and fourth laps were better. It's not where we want to be, but we can get it done from there."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Marines Luczo Dragon Racing, ninth): "Our goal was top 10, and we qualified ninth, so we're happy. We've been fighting understeer all day long, and we kept improving a little bit here and there throughout the day. We have never tested here and have very little track time, but the engineers did a great job figuring out a few things to improve the Marines Luczo Dragon car. I think we have a little bit more to find and we'll keep chipping away, but I believe we will have a good car tomorrow."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 23 Charter/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 10th): "It was good considering that we missed out on a session and that we only really had 45 minutes of running. The guys did a great job, and to be in the top 10 with that amount of time, I'm really happy with it. We think we have improved the car, as well, so I'm looking forward to the race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "I was just going for it. Sometimes you've just got to try, and the car snapped a little bit. I thought I saved it, but then it just slid and brushed the wall, but unfortunately that was the end of qualifying. So it's a shame. The car doesn't seem to be that bad, but when you're going for it, sometimes things like that happen." (About coming from the back): "This place is always very tough. It's good for Ryan (Briscoe). At least it proves we have a good car. So we're going to try to hopefully have good pit stops and score good points, because now we have a great chance in the championship and we can't just give it away, so hopefully we're going to have a good day tomorrow."
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