Forget Batman and Robin. The new dynamic duo, at least at Mid-Ohio, is composed of two talented Brazilians driving for Marlboro Team Penske: Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves. The pair will start tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 on the front row - same as last year. De Ferran earned the pole with a 124.214 mph (1:05.442) lap. Castroneves was second-quickest at 123.394 mph (1:05.877).
The pair gave high marks to their Firestone tires, and they were not alone in praising the performance of the Firehawks. Target/Chip Ganassi Racing driver Bruno Junqueira said he did his best laps on tires in their second run. "That's pretty amazing that we could do that on the second run; Firestone gave us some very fast tires and they are working very well."
Quote from Firestone Racing Project Supervisor Joe Barbieri: "The Marlboro Team Penske group nailed another one today and we are very pleased to be a factor in their performance. The compound in this tire choice is identical to that used here last year. That certainly provided all teams with a known factor to allow them to quickly adjust and fine-tune their set-ups. Gil told us his car was quick right out of the truck, and that his team only had to make minimal adjustments to prepare it for today's qualifying. It's very rewarding when you can provide an important element in any car that appeared to perform as perfectly as his did this afternoon. We're looking forward to a great race tomorrow."
Quote from Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing : "The good thing for us is how consistent the tires have been working; that's very important. We were actually able to go faster on the second run on the same set of tires on Helio's car."
Qualifying temperatures ranged from 113 to 123 degrees track while ambient temperature was a constant 86 degrees.