Hinchcliffe Scores Second Pole of Season for First Race of Rexall Edmonton Indy Doubleheader EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 24, 2008) - Just as he did last year, Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe will start from the pole position for the...
Hinchcliffe Scores Second Pole of Season for First Race of Rexall Edmonton Indy Doubleheader
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 24, 2008) - Just as he did last year, Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe will start from the pole position for the first race of a Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at the Rexall Edmonton Indy.
Driving the No. 3 Indeck/Tire Rack/NOCO machine for Forsythe/Pettit Racing, Hinchcliffe clocked a best lap at 1:05.910 (107.765 mph) to score his second pole of the season in Thursday afternoon's qualifying session at the 1.973-mile Rexall Speedway. Hinchcliffe also started from the pole for the first race of last year's Atlantic doubleheader and went on to finish third in that race. As opposed to duplicating that performance, however, Hinchcliffe is hoping for a similar result to the last time he started from the pole in Atlantic competition in May's Monterey Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In that race, he earned his second career Atlantic victory.
"Anytime you get a pole position, it's a great feeling," Hinchcliffe said. "To do it on home soil, obviously, makes it that much more special. Frankly, I'm surprised to be up here. We weren't really running that well in the session. The car wasn't quite where I wanted it. I think we need to work on our race car over a long stint. We managed to put in one good lap, but it's a 50-minute race. We've got to be there at the end."
Hinchcliffe is joined on the front row by American Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Rockview Builders/RLM Investments entry from Mathiasen Motorsports. Bomarito clocked a best lap at 1:06.053 (107.532 mph) to score his second front-row starting spot of the season. The Californian started April's season-opener at Long Beach from the pole position and has finished inside the top six in two of his three starts this season.
"In a field that's this competitive, it's important to start up front," Bomarito said. "Being on the front row is a great feeling. It's nice to be at the sharp end of the grid again. It's been a rough last couple races, but as soon as we rolled the car out of the trailer for the first practice this morning, I knew it would be a good weekend. The guys are doing a great job. The car is running well, and we're looking forward to a good result. It's an important weekend for everybody. It's a double race weekend, so being up front and finishing strong in both races here is going to be key."
Starting third will be Carl Skerlong in the No. 14 King Taco machine from Pacific Coast Motorsports. Skerlong posted a best lap at 1:06.302 (107.128 mph) to secure third on the grid and the American has now qualified inside the top four for all four races thus far. He heads into Friday's race looking for his third straight podium result and his first career Atlantic victory.
"Being back at Edmonton, first of all, is awesome," Skerlong said. "It's a great place to race. It's really an unusual track. To come back after another month-long break and be in the top three is definitely a good feeling. It's not exactly where we wanted to be after this morning's practice. I definitely thought we had a car to be on top, and we were until the last two minutes of qualifying, but you've got to take what you can get. If I can get top threes all year, fine. You can definitely win a championship with top threes all year. I've got to thank all the guys at Pacific Coast Motorsports and King Taco for making this possible. I can't wait to go at it tomorrow."
Rookie Dane Cameron picked up the best starting position of his Atlantic career to date with a fourth-place performance in the No. 19 MAZDASPEED/Finlay Motorsports/Lynx Racing machine for Genoa Racing. Cameron logged a best lap at 1:06.327 (107.088 mph). Cameron's previous best starting spot was eighth at Mont-Tremblant.
Finland's Markus Niemela completed the top five in the No. 8 Mr. Jones Bar & Kitchen/Rauma Town/Turku Karting entry from Brooks Associates Racing. Niemela turned a best qualifying lap at 1:06.358 (107.038 mph). The Rookie of the Year points leader picked up his first career Atlantic podium with a second-place run last time out at Mont-Tremblant.
Mexican driver David Garza qualified sixth in the No. 7 Axtel/Tecate/Madisa machine for Forsythe/Pettit Racing with a lap at 1:06.392 (106.983 mph), followed by Canadian rookie Daniel Morad at 1:06.441 (106.904 mph) in the No. 70 Metro Directories of Georgia entry from Eurointernational. American Jonathan Summerton qualified eighth at 1:06.456 (106.880 mph) in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine, with points leader Junior Strous ninth at 1:06.470 (106.857 mph) in the No. 6 NEM/Shell/HTP/Muermans Group/Red, White & Bluezz entry from Condor Motorsports/Team Holland. In qualifying for his first Atlantic race of the season, American driver Tom Sutherland completed the top 10 with a lap at 1:06.798 (106.333 mph) in the No. 88 Professional Bull Riders/Trail Tire machine for Brooks Associates Racing.