US GP notebook 2006-07-01

2006 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX SATURDAY NOTEBOOK Speed aims for points finish for U.S. fans; Villeneuve on upswing INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 1, 2006 - American F1 rookie Scott Speed is aiming for points in the United States Grand Prix on...

2006 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX SATURDAY NOTEBOOK
Speed aims for points finish for U.S. fans; Villeneuve on upswing

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 1, 2006 - American F1 rookie Scott Speed is aiming for points in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, July 2 after qualifying his Toro Rosso Cosworth 13th on the grid at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Qualifying here was always going to be difficult because of our engine package," Speed said. "And to come out in P13 is so much more than we hoped for. It has really set us up for a great opportunity tomorrow.

"The Bridgestone tires looked very strong in qualifying. I think our pace is very good, and if we stay out of trouble and have a bit of luck thrown our way, a finish in the points (top eight) here is something we can hope for."

This was the best qualifying performance of the season for Speed, who hails from Manteca, Calif. Speed's previous best qualifying was 15th in the British Grand Prix.

He lined up in the 12th starting spot for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but he had qualified 17th and was moved up five places because other drivers were penalized for engine changes. Speed retired with mechanical problems in Malaysia.

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Mass support for Speed: Scott Speed has been pleasantly surprised by the massive support the fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in the city have given him.

"The fan support has been incredible," he said. "They have been so supportive, and I got such a great feeling here being at home in my home race."

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Villeneuve's best: 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve posted his best qualifying of the year after slotting his BMW Sauber into sixth place on the grid. It is his best starting spot since he lined up fourth for the 2005 season opener in Australia. It is also the best yet qualifying place for the newly formed BMW Sauber team.

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Schumacher adds to record: Michael Schumacher's third pole position of the season was also the 67th of his career. He already holds the F1 pole record.

Three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna is second in the record books with 65. 1965 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time World Champion Jim Clark is third with 33, along with four-time World Champion Alain Prost, who also earned 33.

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Rosberg sent to back of the grid: Nico Rosberg qualified his Williams-Cosworth 19th but was sent to the back of the grid when officials deleted all his qualifying lap times as a penalty for him not stopping at the weigh scales when instructed at the end of his run.

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Team best: MF1 Racing, owned by the Russian-born naturalized Canadian Alex Shnaider, had its best qualifying session of the season as Christijan Albers posted the 14th quickest time while Tiago Monteiro qualified 15th.

"This is a great result for the team!" Monteiro said. "We finally got both cars into the second session, and that's a major boost for everyone. After our performance in Canada, we thought we might be able to do it here, but we weren't really sure. After our performance yesterday, we knew there was potential, so we went for it, and both cars were very competitive today."

Monteiro had two reasons to celebrate as his Portuguese team defeated England in a World Cup quarterfinal game.

"It was a great day for Portugal," he said, "both for myself and our football team, and I'm very proud to display my country's logo on my car and racing suit in the race tomorrow."

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2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for USGP Race Day start at $75.

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Christijan Albers , Jim Clark , Alain Prost , Ayrton Senna , Tiago Monteiro , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg
Teams Sauber , Toro Rosso , Williams