Ryan Hunter-Reay Scores First Champ Car Pole with Blistering Lap at Milwaukee, Gives Herdez Competition its First Pole WEST ALLIS, Wisc. (June 4, 2004) -- During the last two seasons of competition in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car ...
Ryan Hunter-Reay Scores First Champ Car Pole with Blistering Lap at Milwaukee, Gives Herdez Competition its First Pole
WEST ALLIS, Wisc. (June 4, 2004) -- During the last two seasons of competition in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the Herdez Competition squad has been expanding into previously uncharted territory, taking their first Champ Car win with a victory in Australia, and scoring its first 1-2 finish a year ago in Miami with Mario Dominguez and Roberto Moreno.
The team continued that upward trend on a beautiful Milwaukee Friday night as second-year driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored the first pole of his Champ Car career and the first in the history of Herdez Competition. Hunter-Reay scored the pole for Saturday night's Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 Presented by U.S. Bank with a top lap of 20.509 seconds (181.150 mph) to become the 165th driver in the all-time history of Champ Car racing to win a series pole.
Hunter-Reay was fast right out of the box on the 1.032-mile Milwaukee Mile oval, leading Thursday night's practice and pacing Friday afternoon's run as well. He earned the final spot in the 18-car single qualifying order by virtue of leading the earlier practice sessions, and turned a time on his first lap that was good enough for the pole, but stayed in the throttle and dropped his time even lower on his second lap. The pole also gave Hunter-Reay a championship point, boosting his total to 33 on the season
Hunter-Reay's time dropped Champ Car World Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to the second spot on the grid for Saturday's 250-lap event, Bourdais scoring his third front-row start in as many races after carding a lap of 20.667 seconds (179.765 mph). Bourdais will start in the front row for the ninth time in his 21 Champ Car starts.
The field didn't give any spots away as the Milwaukee fans that streamed through the gates saw a session that had the first 12 drivers covered by a scant six-tenths of a second. If not for the final flying lap by Hunter-Reay after he already had the pole locked up, the top 15 drivers would have been within one second of each other. Those margins were the same on race day last year as the top three finishers were covered by less than a second after 250 miles.
Milwaukee track record holder Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) put himself in a strong position to score his first Milwaukee victory, grabbing the third spot on the starting grid with a time of 20.740 seconds (179.132 mph). Carpentier has finished on the podium twice in the last four years including a third-place run a year ago.
Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made it two Herdez cars in the top four with his fourth-place position, earning the position after a lap of 20.785 seconds (178.744 mph). Dominguez continues to show strength in qualifying this season, starting in the first two rows in each of the last two races despite never having qualified better than fifth previously.
Three-time Milwaukee winner Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will start fifth in Saturday's event with his Forsythe Championship Racing stablemate Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) gridding alongside. Lavin scored the best qualifying result of his two-year Champ Car career after getting around the Milwaukee Mile in 20.809 seconds (178.538 mph).
2003 polesitter Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will start seventh after putting up a time of 20.815 seconds (178.487 mph), a time that was better than the one that gave him the pole a year ago, although the time came in practice as qualifying was rained out. He will join 1998 Milwaukee winner Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in the fourth row, Vasser putting his car in the fourth row for the second consecutive start.
Defending race winner Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will take the green flag from the ninth spot while Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top 10. Rookie-of-the-Year points leader Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the fastest rookie of the day, taking the 12th spot on the grid with a time of 21.184 seconds (175.378 mph). Experience played a big part in qualifying success Friday night as rookies took six of the last seven spots on the grid.
Gaston Mazzacane (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will start 16th in his Champ Car debut as the Argentine driver takes over in the Dale Coyne Racing machine for Tarso Marques.
The Champ Cars will run under the lights Saturday night for the third time in the last two seasons, lighting up the mile oval on the grounds of Wisconsin State Fair Park for the second consecutive year. The weather forecast calls for warmer temperatures on Saturday night, for the race that begins at 8:05 local time. The race can be seen live on HDNet, and also on a tape-delayed basis Sunday at 4 p.m. on Spike TV.
QUOTES FROM TOP THREE FINISHERS
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) "I didn't think we had it in us, we worked real hard for this. We had a great test and backed it up with a quick car off the truck giving us real positive results up to this point. We knew what we had to do going into qualifying and we were able to accomplish it. I have great expectations with my new team and I am so happy to put the Herdez car on the pole. I look forward to a clean race tomorrow with positive results."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) "This result is a lot better then I expected and the McDonald's car was good. The test we ran here in May really helped us a lot. Even though I crashed we got a lot of good stuff done. Tomorrow I am going to race hard and try to stay up front because it is a long race and a lot of things can happen. I believe the experience at Newman/Haas Racing has will play a large role in how we finish."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) "I am happy. This afternoon we were struggling a bit. We tried to make improvements on the car all afternoon, which was loose during the practice session. However, the car was excellent tonight and I pushed has hard as I could. The race will be interesting, it will depend on several factors: pits stops, re-starts, and clean racing, which will all lead to a good battle on track for tomorrow night's race."