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J.R. Hildebrand wins Indy Lights race 1 pole
J.R. Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand won his first Firestone Indy Lights pole in qualifying for Race 1 of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Hildebrand recorded a best lap of 1 minute, 7.7704 seconds, 95.617 mph. Junior Strouss, one of 16 rookies in the 27-car field, was second.

Firestone Indy Lights drivers will participate in an additional qualifying session for Race 2 on Saturday morning before the 40-lap Race 1 in the afternoon. Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday.


J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, Pole winner): “You can’t start a season much better. We had a really good session. It was a little bit broken up because the cars were really slipping around, because the track hasn’t really gripped up after the rain. I think I went out too aggressive, because I remembered how the track was last year at the end of the day. I had to tone it down a little bit because I actually knocked the wall a little with my first set of tires. But I got it all together and was able to put in a good lap at the end. It was just a good session for me and a good session as a team. It’s a great way to start the season.”

JUNIOR STROUSS (No. 18 Shell V-Power Knaus HTP, second): “We had a great day today. This morning it was raining, and I was bummed out about it because I knew it was going to be dry during qualifying. In the rain it went really well. Each time we were on the track we were fastest, so that gave me a lot of confidence. But you never know how the car is going to be in the dry. But the car was also good in the dry. Qualifying was only 20 minutes, and we had two long full-course yellows. But I was up front right away, and then we had three more minutes to go, so it was do or die. On the second-to-last lap, I had a guy in front of me, so I did a do-or-die move to pass him, because I knew the last lap had to be perfect. The last lap was amazing. It felt really good. It’s good to be up front.”

SEBASTIEN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., third): “Today’s qualifying was unbelievable. Since I have never been on this track, I didn’t know what to expect. We went out this morning and it was raining, so it was hard to really learn the track, but then we went back out after the rain had cleared and I did. I was P1 at one point and then spun out at the last turn, but my teammate (J.R. Hildebrand) got the pole, so I’m very happy for him and his crew. The AFS/AGR crew has done a great job both on the track and off the track. It shows what a great team I’m on and makes be even more excited about this season.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 21 Vision Racing, fourth): “To be honest, it’s been a challenging day with practice this morning being wet and then going into qualifying with an unknown setup. In my qualifying session, we were all sliding around a lot and struggling for overall grip. It’s a good starting position for the race but we need to do some work tonight to make sure we are competitive in qualifying tomorrow for the second race.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth): “I don't think you can ever be satisfied with your qualifying unless you're sitting on the pole. For us, it was a very difficult sort of day because we had the rain in the morning practice, and then it was dry during the afternoon qualifying. As a result, we had to learn the track along with qualify at the same time in only 10 laps or so. For me, having never been here, that was a pretty tall order. I guess maybe we shouldn't be too disappointed with our overall position, but at the same time, I think we missed a little bit on the setup on the car. I'm actually confident that if we can get it sorted that we'll be a challenger for the pole in qualifying for the second race. I say that because knowing the car didn't feel great, and being only four-tenths (of a second) off, I think that's pretty manageable. So, we'll put our heads together, and tomorrow we'll make the best of it. Again, it's not a long session, but we'll try and put the No. 7 car on the front row.”

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Mtrspts, seventh): “Qualifying was tough. We expected to be so much better. The track was so much different from last year. What we had expected wasn't the case, and we really didn't have time before qualifying to try things out because of the rain. I think I may have been over-driving the car a little bit. Starting seventh isn't the worst thing. We just have to work on a fast Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt car for the race and overtake people and try to get into the top five.”



Driver Diff Gap Time Speed
1 JR Hildebrand (26) --.---- --.---- 1:07.7704 95.617
2 Junior Strous (18) --.---- --.---- 1:08.8082 94.175
3 Sebastian Saavedra (27) 0.0467 0.0467 1:07.8171 95.551
4 James Davison (21) 0.1032 0.1032 1:08.9114 94.034
5 James Hinchcliffe (7) 0.4588 0.4121 1:08.2292 94.974
6 Jonathan Summerton (9) 0.1749 0.0717 1:08.9831 93.936
7 Ana Beatriz (20) 0.5974 0.1386 1:08.3678 94.781
8 Jay Howard (37) 0.3759 0.2010 1:09.1841 93.663
9 Duncan Tappy (63) 0.6855 0.0881 1:08.4559 94.659
10 Mario Romancini (5) 0.4654 0.0895 1:09.2736 93.542
11 Daniel Herrington (28) 0.7666 0.0811 1:08.5370 94.547
12 Charlie Kimball (35) 0.6526 0.1872 1:09.4608 93.290
13 Stefan Wilson (19) 0.7829 0.0163 1:08.5533 94.525
14 Ali Jackson (59) 0.8195 0.1669 1:09.6277 93.066
15 Sean Guthrie (4) 1.1971 0.4142 1:08.9675 93.957
16 Wade Cunningham (11) 1.1668 0.3473 1:09.9750 92.605
17 Andrew Prendeville (2) 1.2445 0.0474 1:09.0149 93.893
18 Gustavo Yacaman (44) 1.4553 0.2885 1:10.2635 92.224
19 Martin Plowman (15) 1.2656 0.0211 1:09.0360 93.864
20 Pippa Mann (16) 2.3430 0.8877 1:11.1512 91.074
21 Logan Gomez (24) 2.1720 0.9064 1:09.9424 92.648
22 Jesse Mason (49) 3.1154 0.7724 1:11.9236 90.096
23 Brandon Wagner (32) 7.0845 4.9125 1:14.8549 86.567
24 Sergey Mokshantsev (3) 4.4429 1.3275 1:13.2511 88.463
25 Rodrigo Barbosa (55) 8.9696 1.8851 1:16.7400 84.441
26 Pablo Donoso (33) 5:06.6557 5:02.2128 6:15.4639 17.259
27 Richard Philippe (36) 0.0000 0.0000 -0.0001 0.000

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