Guerrieri nips Daly for Indy Lights pole
Esteban Guerrieri became the eighth driver -- and first since Graham Rahal in 2006 -- to earn the Sunoco Pole Award in their debut race with a quick lap of 1 minute, 7.6903 seconds on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St. Petersburg street course for the Firestone Indy Lights race.
Guerrieri, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, jumped to the top on the final green flag lap of the 45-minute session. He leapfrogged Conor Daly, who rose to P1 (1:07.9338) in the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car with 13 minutes remaining and further improved his lap time (1:07.7009).
Josef Newgarden completed a 1-2-3 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports with a best lap of 1:07.8731. He'll be joined on the second row by Stefan Wilson (1:07.9582) in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport car. It's the fourth 1-2-3 start for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
||Juan Pablo Garcia
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, SUNOCO Pole Award winner): "We've had competitive cars all weekend. Our last lap was our best lap so we ended up where we needed. I want to thank the whole team, my team and Sam Schmidt because we took 1-2-3. It will be great to start my first race from P1 and I hope our race day goes well. I like the track a lot and it will be fun to race with the field and my teammates tomorrow. I want to thank Sam for this opportunity and start the season well tomorrow from the front."
CONOR DALY (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified second): "It's a bit depressing really. I mean I was strongly P1 the whole session, but just at the end Esteban got me with a good lap. But, it's good for Sam Schmidt Motorsports to be 1-2-3. I'm just looking forward to the race, now. I think we've got a really fast consistent car and I think we'll be OK for tomorrow."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 11 Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified third): "It was just OK. Obviously, we would have liked to have been on pole position. It's a great effort by the entire Sam Schmidt Motorsports organization. What more can you ask for to have the top three being all your cars. I'm sure Sam is delighted. It's great to reward the guys for all the hard work they put in over the winter. In the race, I think you're going to want to keep your nose clean and try to learn as much as possible. It's the first race of the year. I don't think you want to get too excited and throw something away this early in the season. I definitely want to learn as much as I can and just take what the track gives you."
STEFAN WILSON (No. 5 Andretti Autosport, qualified fourth): "I'm very relieved, actually. Coming in the weekend, we were hoping for a little better than P4, but the way things have been going - we missed the setup a little bit yesterday and we've been chasing ever since. I'm quite relieved to get P4, really. It was a last lap gasp. We thought a yellow flag was going to ruin the session. We had just put new tires on and we had like three laps and we made it count and it put us P4. The guys have been working really hard and I have to thank my engineer. I wasn't happy with the car yesterday, and he's been working hard ever since making the car more to my liking."
PETER DEMPSEY (No. 36 Pulse/O2 Racing, qualified fifth): "We've worked really hard all weekend to try and get the car as close to the pace as possible. The O2 Racing Technology car ran pretty well in practice. I there we were third in one session and fourth in the other. We were working really hard heading into qualifying. Unfortunately, I made a huge mistake in qualifying and hit the wall. I got the car to pit lane, but didn't get to run the rest of the session. A huge apology to the guys. They worked so hard and we didn't get to run the second set of tires and I think we could have been on the front row, maybe the pole. I don't know how we managed to stay fifth, wrecking 20 minutes into the session. "