Series Baltimore qualifying report

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IndyCar Series press release

POWER EARNS SEVENTH PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE AWARD AT BALTIMORE

Will Power, Team Penske
Will Power, Team Penske

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

BALTIMORE (Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011) - Graham Rahal was the provisional pole sitter for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the Firestone Fast Six. That was too much time left in the qualifying session for Will Power.

Power, who was 0.0081 of a second behind at the time, recorded the quickest lap of 1 minute, 20.2447 seconds on his fifth and final lap of the 10-minute session to earn his seventh PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season and 23rd of his Indy car career (tying Johnny Rutherford on the all-time list).

"The final run was absolutely everything I had in me and it was exhausting," said Power, who is 25 points behind championship front-runner Dario Franchitti entering the 75-lap race Sept. 4. "I think that securing the pole position is an advantage here because you don't have to worry about trying to pass, and since it is a street circuit there can be a lot of yellows.

"We are going to try to lead as many laps as we can and gain the points we need for the championship. We have to keep chipping away at it."

Still, Rahal will make his highest start of the season in the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car and highest since Milwaukee in June 2009.

Ryan Briscoe and Franchitti will share Row 2, while Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be on the third row. It was Bourdais' and Dale Coyne Racing's first visit to the Firestone Fast this season.

The top six were separated by 0.7648 of a second on the 2-mile, 12-turn course.

In Firestone Indy Lights, Conor Daly will make his first start from the pole in the 35-lap Baltimore 100.

The qualifications order was revised by Firestone Indy Lights officials, who determined that several drivers set their fastest laps while a local yellow was displayed on the course including Gustavo Yacaman who posted the quickest lap.

Peter Dempsey, driving the No. 26 Andretti Autosport car, will make his second front-row start of the season (Long Beach the other).

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

This is Will Power's seventh pole of 2011 and the 23rd pole of his Indy car career. He ties Johnny Rutherford for 11th on the all-time Indy car pole winner's list.

Power is the only driver to have qualified for Firestone Fast Six in every road/street course race in 2011.

Graham Rahal qualified second. It is his first front row start since he qualified second at Milwaukee in 2009.

Ryan Briscoe qualified third for the second-straight event. He has made Firestone Fast Six in the last three road/street events.

Sebastien Bourdais qualified fifth in his first appearance in Firestone Fast Six. It is his best start this season.

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 34 Bogata Es Mundial/Conquest Racing): "It was a tough qualifying session for us. We got a bit lost during this morning's practice and went back on the changes we made overnight, unfortunately for us everyone continues to improve and we were left a bit behind on developing the car. It's a long race tomorrow and I'm on survival mode, I believe there's going to be lots of yellows and I will take good advantage out of them. We will keep working tonight to improve the car and I'm looking forward to a better warm-up session tomorrow morning."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co/A.J. Foyt Racing): "It's better than Sonoma last week but it's tough to be so close to transferring and missing it again. But we are back to where we were with a good solid car on the street courses so at least we're back in the game. There was a lot of frustration in Sonoma but that's fading now. We still need a good run in the race then everyone will be pumped up."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske): "This was a tough qualifying on a tough track here in Baltimore. We had a great start yesterday in the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car, but in the second session in qualifying it was like we got one lap right and the next one not so right. I was really pushing it at the end but we couldn't quite get the time we needed to make the top six. We know we're starting in the top 10 tomorrow and I like our race setup. I said it before, I think it's going to be a very interesting race."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 07 Team REDLINE Xtreme): "I'm a little disappointed. We didn't have a clear lap and we had some brake issues. We need to look over it and see what we can do for tomorrow."

GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 22 Roll Coater): "I'm not happy because it was raining a little bit and then Indy Lights went out and they took away all of the rubber. The track was really slippery in the beginning. I tried to wait a little bit before going out and the times were just coming up. It was disappointing because the longer you could stay out the better, but unfortunately we just missed out in the end. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a good race and bring home a positive result."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "It was kind of strange in the second session. We were fast in the first round and I'm not sure what happened. We bounced back this morning from the incident yesterday and looks like we're starting tenth tomorrow and will try to bring the Target car up from there."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "The final run was absolutely everything I had in me and it was exhausting! I thought it was a very tough lap. I think that securing the pole position is an advantage here because you don't have to worry about trying to pass and since it is a street circuit there can be a lot of yellows. We are going to try to lead as many laps as we can and gain the points we need for the Championship. Verizon Team Penske will get a point for the pole position today and we have to keep chipping away at it.

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Team Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold): "We are really struggling this weekend. The track is really rough and tough and I didn't really adapt myself well. I think that I'm improving, but we're not where we need to be. We'll work on it tonight and I'll compare with my teammates to see what we need to do for the race. Hopefully we can get a good balance and have a clean race and finish well."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "I'm really upset because we made some changes and the Telemundo car felt good in qualifying. I just knew I had to push early and it was my second lap and I touched the wall in Turn 12. The tires were still a little cold and I just tried to push too soon. Then we changed the tire, went back out and a yellow came out so I only got one lap time after it went green. On top of that I also got confused on my splits and I thought I was in (the top-six) with three corners to go. It's not like I took it easy (after that) but I didn't want to take too much risk but we ended up only a tenth-and-a half (of a second) off. I'm really upset with myself. The car felt good. It's tough to pass here and this didn't make our race any easier. The car felt good and I think the pit windows are big enoug, and there is going to be plenty of yellows so we have to be active and decide what to do with pit strategy soon. But the team is pretty good at that so I am confident."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "It was pretty embarrassing to be honest. The struggle is I've got no real reason why we aren't starting higher. It's not that we got the setup completely wrong and missed the balance. It's not that I was making a lot of mistakes, the speed just wasn't there. It's kind of mystifying. We ran a tenth slower than we did in practice and we had red tires. There is not a whole lot to say. It's not what we expected. It's not what we wanted. Frankly, it's not what we deserved. We should have been better than that. It's one of those crazy things in racing where it just doesn't go your way. We will have a deep look at it and see what we can find. We certainly put ourselves in position for a long afternoon tomorrow."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Team Buffalo Wild Wings: "I'm a bit disappointed we didn't make the top six obviously, but the car's not too bad. I think we need to work a little bit on the race setup, but the Buffalo Wild Wings car seems to be consistent if you look at my lap times. It was hard to get much more out of it. Tomorrow's going to be a long day around here I think; lots can happen, and it's easy to make a mistake. We'll just try and keep clean and work our way forward."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "It was a pretty decent session for us. I think sixth was as good as the car was going to go today. We got everything out of it. The good thing is that the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop team made it to the Fast Six and we're starting somewhat up front. We're going to need to make the car better in warm-up tomorrow morning and go fight our way to the front. The guys did a good job. It wasn't quite as quick as we'd like, but I think that's what we were getting out of it today."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kellogg's): "I think we were quick today in the Kellogg's car but just not quick enough. Maybe didn't get everything out of it today but we'll keep at it. The crowd and the support from the city have been just incredible. It's a great atmosphere and hopefully everyone will be in for a good show tomorrow."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "We're really frustrated with our qualifying time. The track has some good passing opportunities but there are also a lot of tight areas. Tomorrow's race is going to be a lot of work, but I'm hoping we can move the GoDaddy.com car through the field and have a better result than our qualifying time shows."

E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "Being again in the top-10 is always good, especially after having limited practice yesterday. Half of the track is really smooth and the other half is very bumpy so there has to be a huge compromise in the setup of the car. It's going to be a long and messy race. We can see that there are going to be some yellows. We had a few issues with braking today, which prevented us from getting in the top-six, but we will look at all the data tonight and go over the car and we should be faster tomorrow. We just want to finish the race and we believe a good result will come with it as we think a lot of cars won't make it to the end"

TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We made some good progress with our setup from this morning and considering that we were 22nd in the last practice, getting a 11th place on qualifying is not that bad. That's the good thing about how KVRT - Lotus works. We have three cars and we swap a lot of info, so sometimes one of us might not look as good during a practice because we are trying something different, but then we compare our feedbacks and go with the best setup. I am ready to put on a good show tomorrow for my friends from GEICO and all the fans from the Baltimore area."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus: "I had a positive feeling in qualifying and after a few laps in traffic I was able to put in a time that would have got me through the first round of qualifying. Unfortunately, I was running a faster lap and on the downshift I had a problem and lost the drive and stalled the car which caused a caution. That meant I lost my two fastest laps. After the caution I got one more timed lap and ran a lap that again would have gotten me into the second round of qualifying, but again that lap was taken away. I am extremely disappointed with my qualifying position for the race, but I will try my best.

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske): "It was nice to have a strong qualifying session after yesterday's performance in the practice. Today I focused on getting back my confidence in the car trying to drive it as deep as you need to. The car was handling really well today. After practice yesterday, I tried to base a lot of my information off of Helio and Will since they had fast cars and were really happy with what they had. The first qualifying group was a strong one and it was very competitive. I think there a couple of good cars that didn't advance today. It is great for the No. 6 Team Penske car to be in the Firestone Fast Six."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): "I was getting pretty close to being the fastest car there, we just don't have the consistency and the knowledge to make it all the time, session after session. But coming off three top six finishes and getting a good street course set up is a very nice help. The team really helped us to get some knowledge about the car, and everyone is working really well together. We have a pretty sweet little team together. I'm just really happy we got to be here this season…it's kind of all coming together and better late than never. Hopefully we can transform and get a top five or podium on some point, we still have two races to go and we'll give it our best shot."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "I had a good run going and my team told me where Will Power was on the tracker and they thought he would jump ahead of us. I let the tires cool off and tried to take a lap to get it back where we wanted it. I went into the chicane and came out and it wasn't that pretty. I lost some time there, but overall it was a good performance for the Service Central team. I certainly feel like this a good circuit. I have made a few mistakes, but qualifying seemed to work out for us."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 17 Snowball Express/AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "Qualifying was a very messy run for us. Just getting a clear space to get into a rhythm is key. We found ourselves in a good space, but then a few cars went off track. Out of the six fast laps on the tires, I only had one good lap and that was my first flying lap. I definitely feel like there is more to come out of me and the car and the tires. This weekend, both Alex and I seem to be struggling to get the right set up on the car to be compliant over the bumps. It's probably the bumpiest place we've been too, and its creating a bit of a headache. The race is going to be carnage tomorrow, so it's about being smart and avoiding all the crashes to make it to the finish."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I'm very disappointed. Every time we make a change, it just gets worse. We're going backwards this weekend. I'm fairly disappointed right now."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "Our qualifying run was a little disappointing. I didn't get the lap put together. You have to push your car right to the limit to get the lap time and we didn't quite get there. The yellow at the end of the session threw us off a little bit, but I know we have a really good race car and race pace should be good. The Novo Nordisk team will take care of pit lane and we'll be moving forward during the race tomorrow."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple): "The Snapple car was just too loose today - I couldn't get into the corners. We were fighting the back end of the car. I obviously would have liked to have had better track position for the start but we'll do what we can to gain during the race tomorrow."

***

Firestone Indy Lights officials have revised the starting lineup for the Baltimore 100. Conor Daly has been awarded the Sunoco Pole Award after officials determined several cars set their fastest laps while a local yellow was displayed on course. Firestone Indy Lights rules prohibit drivers from setting their fastest laps once a local yellow has been displayed.

TONY COTMAN (Firestone Indy Lights Race Director): "Under a local yellow in the Firestone Indy Lights race, you can't improve your lap time. Any car that drives through the local yellow area will have their lap deleted. After the qualifying session when I was going through and looking at the data prior to putting out the official results, I noticed that we had inadvertently deleted the laps from all cars from the lap before we meant to delete them. Instead of deleting the lap of the local yellow, we deleted the lap before it, so we basically deleted the wrong lap. When I looked at that it reflected the results, but I couldn't get to that until after the IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying and the Star Mazda qualifying and this is why it took a couple of hours to review. You may remember that Stefan Wilson is the last one that comes to mind because earlier this season he thought he was on the pole somewhere and the same rule applied then and it applies every weekend. I feel really bad about the people it affected negatively, particularly Gustavo Yacamen, but I feel really good knowing that we applied the rule as written and are trying to be consistent from week to week and we will move on."

CONOR DALY (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM): "It means a lot. I've wanted a pole for so long. Esteban (Guerrieri) always seemed to get us this year. I was able to put in a good lap and at the right time. I'm just really happy that the officials made the right decision as well. I'm just ready for the race now. I know we have a fast car and I love street circuits."

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE:

8 - 8:15 a.m. - Firestone Indy Lights warmup

8:30 - 9:05 a.m. - IZOD IndyCar Series warmup

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. - Firestone Indy Lights Baltimore 100 (35 laps), VERSUS (Live)

2 p.m. - Baltimore Grand Prix pre-race

2:45 p.m. - Baltimore Grand Prix (75 laps), VERSUS (Live)

***

The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 4 at Streets of Baltimore. The race will be televised live at 2 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is Baltimore 100 on Sept. 4 at the Streets of Baltimore. The race will be televised by VERSUS at Noon (ET).

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Series INDYCAR
Tags baltimore, honda, indycar