Series Watkins Glen qualifying report

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IndyCar

FRANCHITTI EARNS POLE FOR MOVETHATBLOCK.com INDY 225

LOUDON, N.H. - (Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011) - Dario Franchitti earned his PEAK Performance Pole position of 2011, scoring the pole for the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225.

Pole winner Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Pole winner Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: IndyCar Series

Franchitti, the 20th qualifier, recorded a two-lap combined time of 43.1976 seconds and an average speed of 170.843 mph. His second lap (21.5968 seconds) was a one-lap IZOD IndyCar Series track record.

It was Franchitti's 26th Indy car pole, overtaking Paul Tracy for ninth on the all-time list.

Oriol Servia, driving the No. 2 Telemundo car for Newman/Haas Racing, will start a season-high second (169.831 mph average). Tony Kanaan tied his season high in the No. 82 GEICO-KV Racing Technology-Lotus car and will start on the inside of Row 2 next to rookie James Hinchcliffe in the No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing car.

Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fifth in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport. Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske will start sixth.

This is Sarah Fisher's final race weekend trip for a while. The team owner's due date (a girl, her first with husband Andy O'Gara) is mid-September. … Marco Andretti's No. 26 Andretti Autosport entry will have All Natural Snapple as the primary sponsor for the next three races. … Tony Kanaan, Simona de Silvestro and Al Unser Jr. greeted fans and signed autographs at Macy's Downtown Crossing in Boston on Aug. 12. … Former Boston Red Sox shortstop Rico Petrocelli, a Nashua, N.H., resident, will be a guest speaker during chapel services at the racetrack on race day.

Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Pippa Mann is awake and alert. She is being transported via ground to Concord Hospital for further evaluation.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

· This is Dario Franchitti's second pole of 2011. He previously won the pole at Milwaukee in June. It is the 26th pole of his Indy car career, giving him sole possession of ninth on the all-time list.

· Oriol Servia qualified second, his best start in 2011. It is his second front-row start this year. He started on the front row at the Indianapolis 500.

· Tony Kanaan qualified third, matching his season-best start. He also started third at Iowa in June.

· Rookie James Hinchcliffe qualified fourth, his career-best start in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

· Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified fifth. It is his best performance in oval qualifying this year.

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The run itself, it was the first time I've been wide open at both ends. On that first lap you go into Turn 1 wide open wondering if it's going to stick or not. If it doesn't stick it's going to get ugly quickly. The whole Target team did a great job coming up with the set-ups and working through the problems this morning with a slick track. (Engineer) Chris (Simmons) and I bounced some ideas back and forth and (the pole run) was the result."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing, qualified second): "We came here with the hopes of having a good race because Newman/Haas Racing has done well here in the past. I am happy that we had both cars up there on the chart. This shows very well for the team. It is a lot of fun to drive here, but is one of the most challenging. It is wide enough to drive three wide here, but we have only been going in the second lane because when we get our tires high or low it gets very slippery. We have been knocking at that door to win a race, but it is so competitive amongst the drivers it takes a perfect weekend to win. The Telemundo team gave me a great car today and we ended up in front. Hopefully we can get a little more out of the car tomorrow."

TONY KANAAN (#82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus, Qualified third): "It was a solid run, a little bit slower than I expected, but still good enough to hold the third spot until the end of the qualifying session. You know, when you're one of the first guys to go out to qualify it kind of hurts your time because the track keeps getting faster and faster. I'm proud of my guys. The Geico - KVRT - Lotus team did a very good job putting me up front. I think that we have a pretty good race car for tomorrow, but this is a tough track to pass so we'll see how it goes during the race."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing, qualified fourth): "It's a good effort by the whole Newman/Haas team with Oriol on the front row and us on the second row. Both cars have been super-strong since we got here so it's a good effort by everybody. Obviously I would have liked to have been a tiny bit quicker. I think it had a little bit more in it but the track conditions changed a bit. It got quite a bit hotter. It's definitely going to be a track-position race so it's good to start up front. To have rolled in here on Thursday not having seen the place and had this result is great. It's a fast track and it's very difficult to get the setup right and go flat around here. But the team gave us good cars and we're sitting all right now."

RYAN HUNTER REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda, qualified fifth): "I have to thank my teammates for helping me with the track conditions today. I was later in the qualifying line and I was able to get some information from them. Man, this place is hairy to try to qualify. I was right on the edge today. But that is what I love about these short ovals. It takes some driving to get around these tracks. You have lift (off the throttle), you have to counter steer, you have to catch the car (from spinning). It's a lot of fun. The margin is so small for error. But the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda guys did a great job getting my car ready for this place. It is tricky here. We'll be a little more conservative for the race than we were today for qualifying. It was a handful out there today. I think we can have a good day Sunday in the race."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental, qualified sixth) :"Qualifying in the top six feels pretty good here. We've all struggled a little bit at Team Penske this weekend and we've put in a lot of time in the engineering room and I'm really proud of everyone on the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental team for the effort today. We've made a lot of progress since practice on Thursday and now we've got to just keep it going for the race. The track here at New Hampshire is good. It's got a narrow groove but hopefully it keeps opening up to create another lane for the race tomorrow. It should be interesting."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "We had tons of grip but it was definitely frustrating for us out there. The other cars trimmed out and we missed out a little on qualifying. Its not what we expected. The track has changed a lot and we can just hope for the best tomorrow for the Target team. We have about a lane and a half for the race so it will be tough to pass."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified eighth): "It was a reasonably good qualifying session. In the morning practice the car felt good. Then in the afternoon session the track conditions changed because of the different tire rubber used by the support series, so it was difficult to judge which direction to go with the setup. For qualifying the track conditions were more like this morning and the car felt secure. I was a little disappointed because the car felt 'draggy' so hopefully we can make some improvements for the race tomorrow." HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske, qualified ninth): "I was very surprised by how fast the Guidepoint Systems car was during that qualifying run. Those were the best laps we have turned all weekend. We were so fast that we hit the limiter at both ends of the straights. Our car is actually better in race trim than qualifying trim, so we should be good tomorrow."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog Flex Pen, qualified 10th): "I'm pretty happy to get two top-10 starting positions in a row. The No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car has been quick since we unloaded at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and it was nice to get a decent amount of practice time in on Thursday and get up to speed. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing was quick in Milwaukee and it feels really good to come back to another short, one-mile oval without a lot of banking. I think the we'll have a really good race car tomorrow."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "I'm disappointed and really frustrated for the whole Service Central team. The No. 38 Service Central car has dominated all weekend and we never expected our car to snap like that in qualifying. I never imagined that would happen. It tried to bite me, but we're just lucky we brought it back in one piece. That type of snap is normally one that you don't catch, so we're pretty fortunate."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "I tried a little harder on the final lap but the car didn't take it. It was worth it on the first lap but I had to get out of it on the second lap. But that is our philosophy now, we're going for it. We've been conservative up to now but now is the time to risk more. [Meira had to get all the way out of the throttle in turns 3 and 4 -- to the point where he had to downshift, costing him 3 or 4 tenths according to engineer Jeff Britton.] As for the race, I know we've improved the tire wear on the car but we'll know more after final practice tomorrow."

ED CARPENTER (No. 67 Service Central Sarah Fisher Racing): "This was a really tough afternoon. With the way that our first and second practice sessions went today it made it hard to go qualify. The Dollar General guys worked really hard to make the car a lot better for qualifying, and although we still would have been liked to have been quicker, we're at least back in the hunt where we can move forward. I think the changes that we made for qualifying are going to be beneficial for the race tomorrow."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple): "Not happy with the qualifying results today - we're just really struggling for grip out there with the Snapple car so we didn't have the speed we needed. It'll make things tougher on Sunday but we'll do our best to make our way up through the field. We've come from the back before and we'll fight to do it again.

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Our qualifying run was OK today in the Verizon car. We were at a bit of a disadvantage going out first for qualifying because the track was dusty and there was still some rubber from the other series on the surface. But the car was pretty good - we had a little push in it but we made some major changes since practice on Thursday and it is much better. We'll be ready to go when we line up for the race tomorrow."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 @FollowAndretti): "We didn't run the afternoon practice because we thought the track would be off due to the stock car rubber. And that proved to be the case. Our qualifying run wasn't bad since we went out early (2nd). The car didn't feel too bad. I was hoping for a little better speed. If we could be in the top 12 or so, we would be okay. And we are 12th. Ryan (Hunter Reay) had a good run with his car (5th). There seems to be a fine line with the groove. You have to hit your marks just right. If you don't, you can lose a lot of time. It will be interesting to pass in the race. Right now, there is one groove. You will see some people make mistakes in the race and the groove will widen. You could see side-by-side racing then."

E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "I am not happy. We know we had a good setup, my two teammates proved that. But for some reason we haven't been able to do the same with our car. It was just very difficult to drive in qualifying. I had huge understeer that prevented me from going faster. Tomorrow is another day and the race is going to be one of the most difficult of the season, so we will now focus on making the car good for the race."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "This afternoon's track conditions were so different from one session to the next, so it was difficult to know exactly how the car would respond to our setups. My second qualifying lap was the fastest lap of the weekend for the GoDaddy.com car. Unfortunately my first lap could have been fast as well, but I got a big push out of four and had to downshift on the exit, so the lap was compromised. Come race day, it will be hard to know what the track conditions will be like, so we'll make the best of it."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "In the end we qualified around where we've been for most of this weekend so far. I don't think it's a bad place to be and it ultimately gets us more towards the front than towards the back and that's a necessity around these types of tracks. I think I just worked the National Guard car a little bit out of where it needed to be for the first lap and then got it back for the second lap - I just didn't have the momentum to really stick it in."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 22 MoveThatBlock.Com/DRR): "We got pretty lost after that second practice session today, but we found our way again. We made a lot of changes to the car and I'm happy with what we ended up with. Also, we went out in the beginning when the track was not as good. I just have to thank the team. It was a good job. We qualified where we qualified and I think it was up to track conditions and I look forward to a good racecar tomorrow."

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Team Ipiranga/DRR): "The car in qualifying was the best that we've had all weekend. It's a shame that we couldn't have that feeling earlier so that I had more confidence to attack more in qualifying. I think that's maybe why the difference from my first lap to my second was so big. My second lap was competitive. We'll see. I'm confident now that I had a good car in qualifying. We need to keep working hard and have a great race tomorrow."

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan will withdraw the #30 Honda/Dallara/Firestone driven by Pippa Mann from this weekend's MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 IZOD Indy Car Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The entry was withdrawn Saturday afternoon after a crash during Saturday's practice session resulted in Mann being removed from competition by Indy Car Series Medical Staff. Mann suffered a heavy impact in the crash and the young British driver will not be cleared to drive by the INDYCAR medical staff until she undergoes a final test in Indianapolis on Monday. Precautionary x-rays of her neck and a CT scan were both negative and she is being released from Concord Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire.

"Pippa worked very hard this weekend and we are hoping for a speedy recovery and a return to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Indy Car," said RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal.

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SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

9:40 - 10 a.m. - Firestone Indy Lights warmup

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. - IZOD IndyCar Series warmup

1:15 p.m. - New Hampshire 100 (100 laps/100 miles)

2:45 p.m. - MoveThatBlock Indy 225 pre-race

4 p.m. - MoveThatBlock Indy 225 (225/225 miles), ABC (Live).

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The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 on Aug. 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is New Hampshire 100 on Aug. 14 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. VERSUS' coverage of the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres will air at 4 p.m. on Aug. 17.

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Series INDYCAR
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