Briscoe wins pole for Road Runner Turbo Indy 300
Briscoe, who closed the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series season with a victory and runner-up finish in two of the final three ovals, will start from the front of the 27-car field in the first oval of this season.
Briscoe, the penultimate qualifier, ripped of a four-lap average of 212.145 mph to earn the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300. He unseated Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (211.298) -- who led a field-high 134 laps in winning at Kansas Speedway last year -- from the pole.
Dan Wheldon, who's won twice and finished second twice at Kansas Speedway, will share the second row with Dario Franchitti. Hideki Mutoh and Alex Tagliani will be on Row 3.
Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon posted the third-fastest qualifying speed, but was penalized to the back of the field for running below the white line during his run. Marco Andretti also was moved to the back of the starting grid for the same infraction. Hideki Mutoh had his best qualifying effort this year and will start fourth, while Takuma Sato led the six rookies in the field, qualifying 11th for KV Racing Technology.
Ryan Briscoe (#6 Team Penske Honda) pole qualifier, 1st pole of 2010, 9th career IndyCar pole: "We made some changes to the car after practice and the car was really strong. It was a picture-perfect qualifying run. The gearing is critical, especially when it's windy like this. When you get it right - like we did today - it makes a big difference. But there are a lot of good cars out there, including my teammates, so I expect a really competitive race tomorrow."
Saturday's 200-lap race, the first IZOD IndyCar Series oval event of 2010, starts at 2 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "I was listening to (Scott) Dixon's stats before he was going out and they said he was going for (pole) No. 17 and I thought, 'that's too many. I need to take that from him.' I'm glad I did. It's great to win the pole. Team Penske has picked up from where it left off at Homestead last year. That's a good sign. Hopefully it's a sign of speed to come at Indy, as well."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified second): "We made some minor changes before qualifying and seemed to gain a little from the first practice session to the end. The car didn't seem to have the speed it should have. Not sure where we lost the speed, but Briscoe seemed to stay consistent and fast. Hopefully we can find some of that tonight. The car was good in traffic and it drove well. Since we only had one practice session, it was harder to find and make any changes before the qualifying session. Kansas has been a stand out for our team the last 3 or 4 years. We come into this event with confidence and it is a nice place to race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: (No. 10 Suave, qualified third): "We didn't have a good balance in practice when we were in qualifying trim. The boys did a good job getting a good balance for qualifying. We just weren't fast enough so we still have some work to do."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, qualified fourth): "We were expecting to have a good car in qualifying because the team was very strong in qualifying here last year. I knew the car would be good and I think I had four good, consistent laps so I am very happy. I'm very proud to be a member of this team and I know they have been working very hard in the off season to build new things for ovals. It looks like it worked out today. I'm very pleased to qualify the Formula Dream / Panasonic car in the top-five. We still have work to do on the race setup but I am confident we can come up with something good."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, qualified fifth): "Today is no credit to the driver; it is all credit to the boys of the FAZZT Race Team here and at the shop. They did a fantastic job and it is one of the most well prepared cars that I have seen and is one of the best cars I have ever driven on an oval. That is a tribute to the boys and how closely they pay attention to the details. We have a very well rounded team and I'm very pleased by that fact. I think we're pleasantly surprised at how well we did today and it was like Brazil where we showed up and didn't know where we would stack up. After Brazil we thought "ok, we're alright" but coming here, the oval was a big unknown. Even with the rain delay today we had enough time to practice and the car was good right off of the truck. One of the key things today was to learn the track as quick as possible because I haven't run here before but everything is easier when you have a good car. And I think our shakedown test at Homestead played a role in today as well. But really, with the run we did today, I'm pleased. On an oval the preparation of the car is key and our crew showed today why I think they are the best out there and all of the long hours they have put in at the shop are showing up in our effort. Yes, we can always improve but really, this was a great effort and the team just did a great job on the car. "
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing, qualified sixth): "It's good to be back where I think the ABC Supply team belongs. This is a substantial improvement from last year and that's where we want to be. If we maintain this pace throughout the season, it's definitely going to be a good way to get better every race. We have to build on what we have now, we have to improve always, but I'm pleased with today. If every weekend goes like it's going right now, we'll do very good."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, qualified seventh): "The Verizon Team Penske car felt pretty good out there today. It was good to do some oval laps. I would have liked to qualify a bit better, but we should be good in the race tomorrow. I'm just going to go out there and do my best to bring home a strong result and earn the maximum points possible."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified eighth): "It was good to get on track after the rain today. Qualifying was pretty good for Team Penske. We expected to do a little better, and I think my teammates have a little more speed right now. But we will keep working hard. This is a challenging place. We're still trying to figure out the right setup and the right lines, but I know we'll be in good shape for the race tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, qualified ninth): "That's not a bad starting position for the GoDaddy car today. I was really loose on the first lap so I think that cost me a few spots, but I'm glad to be starting up front. I have a strong car, so I hope tomorrow ends with a result that shows just that."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified 10th): "The car felt fine. There was just a little bit of scrub, and I kept it down where I needed to keep it and made a few small adjustments during the run and the car felt pretty comfortable. I'm really happy and I don't think I could have gotten much more out of the car. The first lap was really good and then I just kept getting more out of it after that. The Dad's Root Beer car seems to be handling well and I think that we have a good race car and that's the main thing for tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): "This has been a great day for the No. 5 Lotus - KV Racing Technology team. I am happy to have made it to qualifying after the bad weather delayed practice this morning. The team provided me with a great car in order for me to learn this oval and gain confidence with how the car reacts in traffic. Qualifying was a new experience for me and I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "Qualifying for the #32 KV Racing Technology car didn't go the way we wanted. We changed some things on the car after practice that didn't as well in qualifying. But I know we have a good race car for tomorrow and will focus on that for the race."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon): "We had a good run. I think we maximized everything we had in the car. I feel good about the balance and I think we'll have a better racecar than a qualifying car. The car felt good in practice, but it was difficult to really compare ourselves to the other cars because we were concentrating on our racecar setup. The team did a good job and we made good use of the rain delay. We tried to analyze data from the Long Beach race, watched some race videos and spent some time talking about Indianapolis. We had some quality time in our trailer."
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "Qualifying was really a thrash for us because we were out for this afternoon's practice session and we had to stop a little bit early because we were first out to qualify," said Fisher, who is ecstatic to be back behind the wheel at Kansas Speedway this weekend. "I think our qualifying run was good. We ran faster than what we did in practice, which means we ran faster than what we did in the tow. We might have been a little bit heavier on downforce than we should have been, but I think it was a good solid run."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "I'm not happy. We need to be better than what we were today, for sure. We have a lot of work to do tonight and have a lot of answers to find."
E.J. VISO (No 8. PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): "The #8 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology car felt very safe today, its just we lacked the necessary speed in qualifying. I am pleased to be back on ovals, I had a good season last year and I am hoping tomorrow will be the start for an even better one."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Team Window World): "Being with this race team will help me get up to speed much quicker. Right now, I can't give a lot of feedback because I've never raced at Kansas in an Indy car. Obviously, it's a speed track and we need to make it go as fast as we can and still hang on to it. I'm glad to have four teammates that I'll get a chance to draw from tonight and we'll see what we can do with the Window World car for tomorrow."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (#36 Conquest Racing RACB): "It was my first qualification on an oval, but I think it was my best qualification of the season so far. The problem is that I improved my times lap-by-lap, which is not normal. I should do my best lap time at the beginning normally and then (the times) going down from there. I still need some more experience. I think with more experience I could do better, but it's not so bad and we will see how the race goes tomorrow.
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "My Charter/Z-Line Designs qualifying car was really good and I could drive down deep right on the white line with minimal steering input. I can't believe we were not quicker. I'm going over the data with my engineers right now to see if there is any drag on the car and fix that. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow and see if we can pick up positions."
JAY HOWARD (No. 66 Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing): "First of all, I obviously want to thank Service Central for putting this program together with Sarah," said Howard, who will compete in five events for SFR this season. "We were pretty good in practice today, and we didn't really concentrate on our qualifying run. I think we would have expected to do a little bit better than we did in qualifying, but the race is what counts. Fingers crossed for tomorrow."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "This team gives me such great race cars. We've been on the podium half the races we've run this year and we're coming off our first win together. So, today is really out of the ordinary for us and it will really be an engineering exercise for Team IZOD overnight. I was flat-out on the bottom of the racetrack, and there isn't much else the guy driving the race car can do. Hopefully, we'll find some answers."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing): "It was an excellent job by everybody in the National Guard Panther Racing team; we had a little bit of a problem in the first practice, and it shows how good our boys are to bounce back like that so quickly and have such a good car for qualifying. This team has really done a tremendous job this season, and we've been competitive everywhere we've gone. This weekend we've obviously got a very good car and I like this track, and while there's still a long way to go in this race weekend, we're quietly confident that we have a very good package and we're hoping to have a very good race."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venon Energy): "We didn't work much today on our qualifying setup. With the limited practice time we decided to really focus on the race car. That considered, it's not a bad run for the Venom boys, but it could have been better, for sure. We had a problem with the rear bar not locking in and the car jumping soft on me which caused understeer. I think we lost some time there but the car is only going to go as fast as it's going to go."
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