On a stunning day that saw all 24 qualifiers exceed the pole-winning speed average of a year ago, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing driver Bruno Junqueira was the first to make an attempt and saw his amazing speed hold up for the afternoon to capture the...
On a stunning day that saw all 24 qualifiers exceed the pole-winning speed average of a year ago, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing driver Bruno Junqueira was the first to make an attempt and saw his amazing speed hold up for the afternoon to capture the pole position. Junqueira averaged 231.342 mph in his G Force/Chevrolet on Firestone Firehawks, a speed more than 5 mph above the pole average of 2001.
Joining Junqueira on the front row for the May 26 running of the Indy 500 will be Robbie Buhl in the Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone (231.033) and Raul Boesel in the Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevy/Firestone (230.613). Qualifications are scheduled to resume Sunday, with the final day of time trials slated for May 19.
"Congratulations from Firestone Racing to Bruno Junqueira and the entire Ganassi team on a sensational qualifying performance," said Al Speyer, Firestone Racing Executive Director. "We're also quite pleased to see Robbie Buhl right up front and Team Menard recover from its difficulties to land Raul Boesel on the front row. All three of those teams are long and loyal Firestone supporters, which makes us all the more appreciative of their efforts today. Honestly, we expected the speeds to be somewhat higher in qualifying this year, but the 231-mph average Bruno managed was even greater than we had anticipated. The smoother track surface obviously has something to do with it, the engine and chassis manufacturers have been working hard, and Firestone has a new tread compound at Indy this May. All those variables have combined to yield increased speeds on a very competitive and memorable day of qualifying."
Firestone, the Official Tire of the Indy Racing League, is equipping all entries in this year's race. With 52 Indianapolis 500 victories, Firestone has more than all other tire manufacturers combined and will crown Indy champion number 53 on May 26.
Qualifying temperatures ranged from 67 to 83 degrees track and from 63 to 70 degrees ambient (F).