Guerrieri wins Long Beach Indy Lights pole
Remember we told you before this year started that Argentinean Esteban Guerrieri was really, we mean really, good. Well he put his Indy Lights car on pole again today on the streets of Long Beach beating some pretty stout drivers in Peter Dempsey, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly.
Daly, who briefly led the qualifying session for the Sonoco Pole award, missed practice yesterday because he was testing a GP3 car in Europe. Despite missing Friday, he did very well today.
Sam Schmidt's team took 3 of the top 4 spots with Guerrieri, Newgarden and Daly.
||Juan Pablo Garcia
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sunoco Pole Award): "I am really enjoying being on the pole here at Long Beach considering what happened at Barber. I couldn't finish the race there, so turning around and getting the pole is a great accomplishment. Our car is very quick this weekend. I like this track and I feel comfortable on it. We were a bit slow in the beginning because we started to pick up understeer and I thought if I pushed harder that it would eliminate that, but it just made the understeer worse. The team put on the second set of Firestone tires and we made some slight changes to the car. I was able to go back out and in the heat of the moment get my fastest lap and claim the pole. It was a huge team effort today and I think we have a good chance to win from the pole tomorrow."
PETER DEMPSEY (No. 36 Pulse/O2 Racing, qualified second): "I thought it went really well today. We knew we were going to use a set of new tires before the session started today so we decided to sit out a little bit. The session was longer this weekend so we sat in pit lane and then went out and got a good base run on my old tires. We put on a new set of Firestone tires and then had a quick lap and were placed on the pole. Josef Newgarden caught me in the middle of the session so I went back out on my last set of Firestones and held the pole for the most of the remaining session. Esteban Guerrieri took over the pole at the very end. My team did a great job and I am very pleased with qualifying on the front row for the first time this year. Having the #36 Pulse/O2 Racing car on the front row is a great accomplishment for the team and this will help us on the race start tomorrow."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 11 RoboPong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified third): "That second set (of tires), we just got three laps in a row, and it just bit us. I just got overzealous on the last set. I couldn't get the time out of the last set. With the nature of this track, it's very difficult to set a quick lap. I mean you really have to be on it. In doing that, you put yourself at risk every lap. It's a shame we didn't get the pole again today, but one of these days we're going to get it."
CONOR DALY (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM, qualified fourth): "The track is not slippery, it's people just aren't thinking out there. It's tough to find a lap on a street course, and when other competitors blatantly just slow down in front of you and then goes, it's the most annoying thing in qualifying. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people out there doing that. At the end, again, we were at the wrong place at the wrong time. I have to figure out something to put me in the right place. The car is fast, we just can't seem to find the gaps in qualifying."
ANDERS KROHN (No. 9 Liberty Engineering Racing Special, qualified fifth): " I have to be pleased. Every session we make quantum leaps, getting better and better. We knew we didn't have the speed today for the extra tenths, but starting P5 is a great position for the race. So I'm good with this, the effort of the crew, the preparation on the car....I love that we keep getting stronger. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow. This is an incredible field of drivers. We are all so close, I'm sure it will be a great show for the fans."
STEFAN WILSON (No. 5 Andretti Autosport, qualified sixth): "It was pretty hectic out there. I ended up in P6, but that's not where we deserved to be. We were quick enough in practice and through qualifying, but we found ourselves in traffic. The time evaporated and we didn't have time to get a quick lap in. It's just a shame for the Andretti Autosport guys. Tomorrow's cooler, overcast weather should help us a bit. We'll work hard overnight and see how we do tomorrow."
JAMES WINSLOW (No. 26 Andretti Autosport, qualified 10th): "We were running really well. I was hearing 'P2, P3' on the radio and I hadn't got a quick lap in yet. The grip level was coming up on the track so quickly. I tried taking a high gear for one of the corners, and I didn't estimate how much under steer I was going to get. I drifted a bit, hit some marbles then hit the wall; very unfortunate. The car's good. We had potential for the front row. It's disappointing, but we'll have to make up for it tomorrow."