Briscoe wins pole in Chicago
Ryan Briscoe claimed his third consecutive Chicagoland Speedway pole position on Friday, leading Team Penske to an impressive result in qualifying for Saturday’s Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300. Winners of the last two races at Chicagoland, Team Penske earned three of the top-four starting spots for tomorrow’s race.
Briscoe recorded a two-lap lap qualifying run of 50.5857 seconds – an average of 216.346 mph – around the 1.5-mile oval and will start from the point on Saturday night.
Friday’s effort marked Briscoe’s third pole of the season and his first since he claimed the No. 1 spot at another 1.5-mile oval, Texas Motor Speedway, where he went on to win the race in June. It also is the third consecutive pole at Chicago for Briscoe, who won the race last year and finished third in 2008.
“I just hope I can be as competitive in the race as we have been the last two years,” said Briscoe. “It’s always an exciting race. There’s always a lot of side-by-side and three-wide action. We’ve got a huge field of 29 cars, which is going to make it very busy.”
Team Penske teammate Will Power, who leads the IZOD IndyCar Series standings, qualified third, while 2008 Chicagoland winner Helio Castroneves will start fourth.
Power, who has a 59-point lead over Dario Franchitti with four races remaining in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season, will start one position behind Franchitti. Power recorded an average of 215.521 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"The Verizon car felt really solid out there today,” said Power. “Our car is fast in race trim and this track is all about the racing. I am looking forward to tomorrow night. We have been knocking on the door on some of the earlier oval races, and we are due for our first oval win."
Castroneves was clocked at 215.475 mph and will start next to Power in the second row. He has now qualified among the top four in five consecutive races at Chicagoland. This weekend’s event marks the first time the IZOD IndyCar Series has been on an oval track since June 20 at Iowa Speedway.
"It's good to be back on the ovals, especially here at Chicagoland,” said Castroneves. “The car was good for qualifying. I was really kind of expecting to go 216 mph, but maybe the track was a little slower than practice this morning because of the different rubber on the track. It will be good to start from the second row tomorrow night and I think it's going to be another exciting race here. Congratulations to Ryan for winning the pole. Team Penske is in good shape for the race."
Live coverage of Saturday’s race will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Versus.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "The car today was just spot on. I didn't want to be overconfident but I was thinking after that run, man, that's gotta be hard to beat. I knew we were fully trimmed out and the car felt really solid. It was a great qualifying run today and I'm just really hoping that we can follow through tomorrow and have another good race. We've been strong here the last couple of years and I really enjoy racing around here. It's always exciting. It's a completely wide track that's really smooth. It's got smooth transitions off the banking corners. It really promotes good racing so I always get excited to come back here."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Breathe Right, qualified second): "Qualifying is a like an engineering exercise. It's getting all of those pieces into place and then if you miss one of them, or in Ryan's case, if you get them all just right, then you see the result. We'd like to have that extra point (for the pole) but we're starting up front and I think we have a pretty good car in race trim. One of the things we realize about these one-and-half mile races is really that anything can happen. It can just go completely bad at anytime. It would be nice to stay up front all night, but we're prepared for almost anything."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, qualified third): "The Verizon car felt really solid out there today. Our car is fast in race trim and this track is all about the racing. I am looking forward to tomorrow night. We have been knocking on the door on some of the earlier oval races and we are due for our first oval win."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified fourth): "It's good to be back on the ovals, especially here at Chicagoland. The car was good for qualifying. I was really kind of expecting to go 216 mph, but maybe the track was a little slower than practice this morning because of the different rubber on the track. It will be good to start from the second row tomorrow night and I think it's going to be another exciting race here. Congratulations to Ryan for winning the pole. Team Penske is in good shape for the race."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, qualified fifth): "I think we hit the set up on the Venom car about as good as we were going to for qualifying today. We can't expect much more than that as far as our speed, but I'm optimistic for the race. It's always different when you're on the racetrack with 28 other cars but I think it can be done from fifth. Hopefully we can back that up tomorrow night."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 NHR/Quick Trim, qualified sixth): "The Quick Trim car was really good. The guys have been working hard. Obviously we showed up here with a good setup and it was nice. I haven't been on a 1.5 mile oval in almost a year. It was nice to have a good car to be confident and comfortable in. And the qualifying car was as good as we could have it. We're lacking a little bit of speed overall but we're pleased with the starting position. This is a big race for Quick Trim and the home event for the team. I think our race car is pretty quick. It would be nice to have a good result and even nicer to win one."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, qualified seventh): "I think the team has done a really, really good job. We didn't run as much as we perhaps we would have liked in the practice session, but the National Guard Panther Racing team worked hard and we had a good, solid qualification run. Tomorrow we just want to drive to the front of the field as quick as we can and stay there. I've got a good car and Ed (Carpenter) has a good car and you can see that based on how we qualified and the speeds that we've done. It's so competitive out here that it's a benefit to have information that you can share; not only between us as teammates but also through the team. Ed and I work very, very well together - so if one thing works for one and something else doesn't work for the other we can combine setups for the race and hopefully have a better overall package because of that. This qualification is just a small part of it and we've got a warm-up still to work hard in to make sure we've got a good car tomorrow for the race."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, qualified eighth): "I appreciate having a teammate in Graham because I really didn't try a qualifying simulation in practice so I copied his setup and it went very well. The car feels good so far and we are going to keep working to improve the race setup. It's definitely nice to race at home and sleep in my own bed."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Ethanol USA/Team IZOD, qualified ninth): "We went a little bit more aggressive for qualifying with the Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car. Tony got a little bit loose during his qualifying run so we made a couple of changes to compensate for that and I think that ended up hurting us on the first lap. But, that is a lot better than we've been on ovals this year. This team has been really pushing to fix that situation and we have results for it. It's always nice when you go to work on something that you get a result."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 LOTUS - KV Racing Technology, finished 10th ): "I am very happy with how today went. We worked on race trim for most of the morning session and the qualifying setup. During qualifying I watched how other drivers took the racing line so I could get a better understanding. I am really pleased to be starting 10th and look forward to the race tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy's Vodka, qualified 11th): "We got off to a rocky start and didn't get to practice before qualifying. There's a big bump between Turn 3 and Turn 4 and we had a problem with the rear suspension that sent me off into the wall during practice this morning. It was unfortunate not to get in some track time but I knew the team set me up with a good car. I messed up the first lap in qualifying a little bit. For not practicing at all we did OK. It's a tough field but if you play your cards right and do your job, I think the Panther cars are good enough to expect a top 5 and contend for a win. The No.20 Fuzzy Ultra Premium Vodka car had good speed at Indy, (Dan) Wheldon (Panther Racing) was fast at Kansas, so we're expecting to do well. With my experience at these places combined with Panther Racing who has had a lot of success over the years on mile and a half ovals, I think we are all expecting to be strong in the remaining races."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven/Planters, qualified 13th): "We had a better car this morning. We made a couple changes for qualifying, looking for a bit more speed, and I think it actually worked against us. It's still a decent lap time, but definitely not as much as we were looking for."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 36 Conquest Racing, qualified 17th): "Unfortunately we had an issue this morning with the fuel pump and did not get much practice time, but the Conquest engineers and crew did a great job getting us ready to qualify. Had we been able to run the entire practice this morning, I believe there was quite a bit more speed that we could have found in the car. Even in the little time we had, I know we will have a good car in the race. So far, for just putting this relationship together less than 48 hours ago, things have been really good."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon, qualified 18th): "I'm pretty happy with the run. The engineers did a good job and I was able to place the car where I wanted on the track. It was a fairly quick qualifying, but the most important thing is for us to have a strong car for the race. We're heading in the right direction."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 34 RACB/Conquest Racing, qualified 20th): "We had a little bad luck this morning in practice and had to make an engine change. The Conquest team worked really hard and we were able to be ready to qualify the RACB car with very little practice time. I am looking forward to practice this afternoon so we can prepare the car for the race tomorrow. After getting out on the track here in Chicago, I am really looking forward to racing on ovals again."
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing, qualified 25th): "Qualifying was tough today," said Fisher. "We weren't as fast as we would have liked to have been, but I am very happy with the car and you don't hear me say that very often! I'm confident that the guys will help me find some speed before tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night. It's good to be back on track in the Dollar General car and to be working with my guys again. I think we have a great race car and I'm excited to get out there."
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 21 HP de Ferran Dragon, qualified 28th): "We expected a little more speed so we're a little disappointed with qualifying. We do feel like we have a good race trim and we'll keep working on it so that we can put together a strong race."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology): "We were pretty happy with the car in the morning practice session. The car was stable in the my qualifying run. We had almost identical lap times. We needed some speed for qualifying but it is an extremely long race. I feel we have a good race car for Saturday. We have come from behind in other oval races this year. So, if we can get a good setup for Saturday night, we can do that again."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "I think Chicagoland is a great track and we had a great race here last year to take third. Unfortunately, I don't think we have the same speed as last year right now. But we are working on the speed now and I think we have a pretty good car for the race on Saturday. We'll work on the car's setup tonight for the race and be ready to go."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): "Very frustrated! It's disappointing not to have qualified better but the race is obviously what counts. The mile and a half ovals are all a little bit different and as a first year team, we are learning a bit each time on them. I think we've gained a lot in set up and what we've found will be good for the race tomorrow, as well as Kentucky and the rest of the season. I know I can rely on the team to give me a good race car and I know that we can move forward from our starting position."
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