Justin and the ...
Justin and the #9 CDW/RSPORTS team were quick out of the box on Friday around San Jose's tricky 1.4 mile street circuit. Justin finished the morning practice session 4th on the timesheets and went on to record the 2nd fastest lap in first qualifying (49.747s, 104.424 mph).
Justin's qualifying time came on his 7th lap at the end of a first stint that was hampered by a faulty dashboard; he couldn't monitor his sector times, relying instead on the team reporting the lap times by radio. "The #9 CDW car felt good on the first run", explained Justin. "I felt like I had plenty left over to go in the second run, but for some reason the car just didn't feel as good and it was bouncing a lot more over the bumps. It was frustrating that we couldn't carry a bit more speed and get more lap time out of it during that second stint."
For a while it looked as though Justin's time might have been enough for provisional pole, but Sebastien Bourdais (Newman/Haas/Lanigan), who had been languishing near the bottom of the time-sheets for most of the session, found a clear lap with less than a minute left and grabbed pole by 0.2s (49.509s, 104.926 mph). The result guarantees the Frenchman a front row start for Sunday's race. Will Power (Team Australia) rounded out the top three with a time of 49.822s. Justin's RSPORTS team-mate Alex Tagliani was 5th quickest (49.852s).
Justin used the harder black sidewalled Bridgestone tyres throughout Friday's qualifying session, opting to save both sets of the softer "reds" for final qualifying. "We've just got a little bit more work to do. Hopefully we'll get the #9 CDW car right up there and qualify on the pole tomorrow", said Justin.