Festa wins pole for Indy pro opener
It was a banner day for Chip Ganassi's team as it also claimed the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Miami 100 Indy Pro Series event with driver Chris Festa. It was the first career pole for Festa.
CHRIS FESTA (No. 9 CGR Indy Pro Series, SWE Race Car Parts Pole Winner): "It's a great thing. The team is starting out for the first time, so to come out and get a pole is just a really good thing. They've worked so hard over the winter. I'm just so proud to be a part of this team. When somebody like Chip Ganassi hires you to drive his car, it definitely builds your ego a little bit, but I don't want it to get too big because that's when things start happening. We're feeling pretty good. We ran race setup in the session this morning, and we can put the car anywhere we wanted, so we're feeling very confident. We're looking forward to tomorrow." (About expecting to go 187 mph) "Honestly, no I didn't. I was expecting probably around 186, but I'm not going to complain. I'll take it. That was a pleasant surprise."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucus Oil/Isilon Systems/SSM, qualified second): "Qualifying went really well. We are disappointed not to be P1. We had a really good car. The car was quite fantastic but we had the wrong gear, which cost us the pole. We are on the front row and it is going to be anybody's race tomorrow. We are in a good position, and we are going to put it all together for the race tomorrow. (About his second season in the Indy Pro Series): "I think it is going to be an advantage later in the year. This is my first time here, so I still feel a bit of a rookie. The ovals are still quite new to me. I only drove in three last year. I do feel as we will have an advantage as we go on throughout the year. When we visit some of the tracks that the new guys haven't been to."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, qualified third): "This was my best job so far. This is my first time on an oval. I like the speed and being close to the wall and it is fast. I still need to learn in the traffic. And that is my target for tomorrow."
BOBBY WILSON (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualifed fourth): "The car was great. We haven't tested at night. The air is a little different, the track is a little different, and we were probably too conservative. It's going to be a tight field. I expect some good racing tomorrow."
Qualifying Friday for the Miami 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis and speed:
1. (9) Chris Festa, Dallara, 187.280
2. (7) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 186.556
3. (55) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara, 186.154
4. (1) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 184.864
5. (27) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 184.850
6. (38) Ryan Justice, Dallara, 184.796
7. (8) Shane Lewis, Dallara, 184.412
8. (10) Pablo Perez, Dallara, 183.501
9. (4) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 183.277
10. (53) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 183.112
11. (54) Micky Gilbert, Dallara, 183.003
12. (34) Jon Brownson, Dallara, 182.905
13. (6) CR Crews, Dallara, 182.737
14. (52) Ken Losch, Dallara, 182.537
15. (2) Tom Wood, Dallara, 182.366
16. (24) Stephen Simpson, Dallara, 182.242
17. (3) Brad Jaeger, Dallara, 181.996
18. (13) Robbie Pecorari, Dallara, 181.913
19. (44) Jay Howard, Dallara, 181.600
20. (40) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, 181.461
21. (5) Andrew Prendeville, Dallara, 181.381
22. (12) A.J. Russell, Dallara, 181.056
23. (15) Joey Scarallo, Dallara, 180.875
24. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, no speed
25. (23) Logan Gomez, Dallara, no speed