Saavedra wins Indy Lights pole
Sebastian Saavedra earned the pole for the Firestone Indy Lights Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100.
Saavedra, who also is competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series race, posted a two-lap average speed of 189.640 mph in the No. 27 Team AFS car. He was 0.2636 of a second quicker than Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport.
Esteban Guerrieri, who enters the 50-lap race 11 points behind Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Tristan Vautier in the championship standings, will start on Row 2. Vautier will start fifth in the title-deciding race.
Qualifying Friday for the Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100 Firestone Indy Lights Series event on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, and speed:
1. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 189.640
2. (26) Carlos Munoz, 188.984
3. (11) Esteban Guerrieri, 188.625
4. (4) Jorge Goncalvez, 188.043
5. (77) Tristan Vautier, 187.445
6. (7) Oliver Webb, 187.413
7. (76) Juan Pablo Garcia, 187.280
8. (22) David Ostella, 187.235
9. (2) Gustavo Yacaman, 187.165
10. (3) Victor Carbone, 186.810
11. (24) Stefan Wilson, 185.364
12. (86) Bruno Palli, 184.692
13. (19) Mike Larrison, 179.337
14. (9) Peter Dempsey, no speed
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, Sunoco Pole Award winner): "It was great to have Carlos (Munoz) go ahead of us, he gave me great information that I used for my run, and that was it. We've had great cars, we tested here very early in the season and for sure, we build up good momentum. Very excited about this pole, it's one more point that we have in the championship. And for me, one more qualifying session to go." (What is the plan for tomorrow?) "For sure I want to win. We are racers. We want to win every race, right? I'm going to go out there and try to win this and finish the season on a high note. We've been doing an incredible job during the 2012 season, couple of bad luck situations, but in the end that's racing. I'm very excited to put the No. 27 car up there and the complete support that the Andretti crew has given us has been amazing."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser): "It's not really that warm when you sit in the car and you're so nervous and concentrated you don't really feel that hot. I'm a little sad, because I was first all the session and then my teammate (Sebastian Saavedra) just got the pole position. But anyway, I know it's a long race tomorrow, it's 100 miles, so everything could happen. Now we have the second free practice so we have to focus now on the race tomorrow. It's nice to have my teammate side-by-side. I think we have to work tomorrow together to have a good race."
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "I had a touch of understeer on my second flying lap in Turn 3 and we lost a tenth. The car feels good though, and I'll have a good race car. I'm happy. The race will be long. It will be very hot tomorrow, 100 degrees. It will be greasy and important how we manage our tires. In the second practice session, we'll see how fast the tires drop off. The engineers will be important in setting up the car for the race." (About championship scenarios): "One extra point would have been great. Now that we've qualified and we know the final points, we can look at the race. I know I just need to win the race and lead the most laps. That's the plan."
JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "I think I got a really good lap. We'll see how it works out in the end, but I'm pretty happy right now. We have a fast car and we need to go for the race."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "The car was good. There are still a lot of drivers to go and I don't know if we have enough to get pole. Apparently, I lost some time in Turns 3 and 4, so I'll have to figure out what I did wrong. We think right now we're missing just a little something, but we're working on it for the race tomorrow. We'll try to make the most out of the last practice, and we'll see what happens." (About championship scenarios): "I have a few scenarios, but to be honest, I did not calculate all of them. I think if you worry about it too much, it's the best way to screw it up. I for sure looked at them and I know what I need to do, but the main thing is to take it as a normal weekend and see what happens at the end."
OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): ""The way the car was handling, I was pretty happy with it. I'll speak with the team and see how the other guys handle. It's just nice to be able to go out straightaway and be flat all around because we've had issues with that like at Iowa when I was lifting too early. I'm happy with that run."
JUAN PABLO GARCIA (No. 76 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsports): "The car felt a lot better today than when we tested in Fontana awhile back, and I'm also much more familiar with the track now. I'm really happy with the way the car handled on each of my qualifying laps. I think we were pretty fast with an average of 187.28 mph. We've made so many improvements between testing in Fontana until now. It's just great to start a race weekend off in such a positive way. I think it's the best start to a race weekend we've had all year. I just hope it translates over to a great result to end our season."
VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "We just don't have the speed right now. We'll go back to the truck and see what happened. The car is quite good, it just doesn't have the speed. I looked down in the cockpit, and especially on the second lap, we just didn't see speed. It was slower than my first lap."
MIKE LARRISON (No. 19 Belardi/TruFuel/Royal Oak Charcoal): "We've been making changes to the car to get me more comfortable, and after only two laps in qualifying, I'm looking forward to checking out the second practice this afternoon. I have to thank my sponsors, Royal Purple, Royal Oak Charcoal, TruFuel and the whole Belardi Auto Racing team for continuing to work hard to prepare a great race car for me."
PETER DEMPSEY (No. 9 Belardi/TruFuel): "Unfortunately we weren't able to qualify because we needed to change the engine in the No. 9 TruFuel/MoeryLAI/Belardi Auto Racing car. We are looking forward to getting back out there for the second practice session, however, and tomorrow's race will definitely be a good show."