IRL: Iowa: Qualifying report

DIXON CLAIMS POLE AT IOWA SPEEDWAY NEWTON, Iowa, Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- Scott Dixon claimed his first AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award of the season, winning the pole for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. Dixon, the 2003 IndyCar...

DIXON CLAIMS POLE AT IOWA SPEEDWAY

NEWTON, Iowa, Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- Scott Dixon claimed his first AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award of the season, winning the pole for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Dixon, the 2003 IndyCar Series champion, turned a lap of 17.6484 seconds, 182.360 mph, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara. Dixon's lap was .0085 of a second quicker than Helio Castroneves, who was the first driver to attempt to qualify.

Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti qualified third (182.043 mph) followed by Rahal Letterman Racing's Scott Sharp (181.713 mph) and Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter (181.644 mph).

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

Delphi Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira will wear a helmet hand-painted by Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by ethanol at Iowa Speedway. It will be included in an auction with proceeds to benefit Panther Racing's charity Best Buddies.

Britto, known for his vivid colors, joyful themes and bold compositions, has been a fixture on the international art scene for almost 20 years. The helmet is a representation of Britto's work, with bright colors, unique shapes and the Roman Numeral 18, Meira's lucky number.

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I was flattered when Britto told me he was going to paint a helmet for me, and now that I've seen it I don't even know what to say. I have to thank him for doing this. It's an honor for me, and Panther is always looking for ways to support Best Buddies. I have to say, if I win the Iowa race this weekend, Britto is going to be painting a lot more helmets."

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Based on input and data from two separate tests at Iowa Speedway, Firestone engineers have elected to bring the same compound and construction as the 2007 Motegi/Indianapolis 500 tire for the left side of the cars, and the 2007 superspeedway specification (previously used at Homestead, Kansas and Texas) for the right side of the cars.

AL SPEYER (executive director of Firestone Racing): "After trying numerous Firestone Firehawk compound and construction combinations, the best option turned out to be a pairing of our 1.5-mile oval spec and this year's Indy 500 tire. These tires have already proven themselves on track this season, and we expect that they will demonstrate the same grip, durability and consistency at this event."

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A.J. Foyt will serve as grand marshal of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Ethanol in honor of his 50th anniversary in Indy car racing. Foyt never raced an Indy car in Iowa but did race a stock car at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa in 1969. He drove Jack Bowsher's car, winning the pole and finishing second in the 100-lap USAC event on the half-mile dirt oval.

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Scott Dixon's No. 9 car will carry a blue/white Commit livery this weekend. The car was to run at Texas Motor Speedway, but was damaged after contact with the wall during practice.

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POST-AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Scott Dixon's first pole of the season and the seventh pole of his career. His last pole came at Infineon Raceway in August of 2006. His last pole on an oval came at Nazareth in 2003.

* This is the 13th pole for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series. It's last pole came with Dan Wheldon at Homestead earlier this season

* Helio Castroneves qualified second, his fifth front-row start of the season.

* Ed Carpenter qualified a season-best fifth, while Jeff Simmons matched his career best start of sixth.

POST-AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, AAMCO Transmission Pole Award winner): "We knew we had a decent car going into qualifying. We didn't think we had a car for the pole, but definitely the top-five. Once I saw my first lap, I was like, 'Wow, this thing is definitely quick.' I made a few mistakes on my line, especially in Turn 3. My car seemed to be a little edgy on entry into there and I sort of moved up the track a little bit, so I think I left a little bit on the table. All in all, it's been a good couple days for us. Plus we've worked on the car, we've improved it and it's got good speed. We put a huge emphasis on starting from the front at Iowa because of yesterday and learning how tough it is to pass. Hopefully we can stay there."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified second): "It was very tough because we were the first ones to go out and the car was really loose. For 17 seconds, I was not breathing. It was a good effort for Team Penske and the front row is always very good. Starting out front at this place is important because it's going to be very busy."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified third): "Overall, it was a good day for the Canadian Club team. When you look at the qualifying results, we are four hundredths off of the pole speed. You always think you can do better maybe with a more aggressive set up. I think we did a good job. I think we have a good race car. Conditions are going to change a lot tomorrow, but hopefully we've got what we need to win."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "It's been a rollercoaster day for us. We put a new qualifying setup on the car the we hadn't even tried before and it was great. Thanks to all the guys on the team, they really stepped up and made the right moves today. I was pretty concerned after practice because this is a place where you can get lapped pretty quickly if you start too deep in the field, but we're at the sharp end of the grid and I'm very pleased with how it ended up. The setup was perfect, I just gassed it and drove it as hard as I could."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fifth): "We did a 17.66 (second lap) pretty much by ourselves in practice so I knew we had the speed in the car. It seemed like the track slowed down a little bit so I was hoping to run a 17.70, but I think we ran a 17.71 or 17.72, so that's good. You know, to put the Hitachi Power Tools car in the top five is great. It's my second best qualifying effort ever and it's a good place to have it at a short track that's been really competitive all weekend. Just take a look at the top five and you can see it's made up of all different teams so it's going to be a good race and this track has kind of evened the whole thing out a little bit."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified sixth): "Everyone on the Ethanol team has done a great job this week, the car was really fast right off the truck. This is a very big race for us and with Ethanol, we have a lot of support for this race and we are pleased to have been able to qualify well. This is a race that we have had our eyes on from the time they announced the schedule and now we need to transfer today's success into tomorrow's race

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified seventh): "There was definitely more grip on the race track for qualifying. We were a lot slower than I expected to be. I'm not very happy with our qualifying run but what can you do. It will be very difficult to pass here tomorrow but we'll make the best of it in the 7-Eleven car."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified eighth): "We hoped to be a little faster in qualifying today. I'm not quite sure what happened, so we'll have to take a close look at the telemetry. I think it's going to be difficult to pass during the race, so we'll have to be quick in the pits to gain track position. I know that my Team Penske crew is up to the challenge, so we'll just hope for the best."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified ninth): "What is going to be different tomorrow is the tempature. Right now it is very difficult to pass. Tomorrow, a driver is going to have to be very aggressive but I hope everybody is going to be sensible at the

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "The car has been spectacular since we unloaded it here at the track. The guys have been working really hard with not being to test here, but I've got no complaints. I've felt very comfortable since first getting out on the track. It's a beautiful place to come race, the track is awesome and it's going to be a very exciting race."

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The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 24 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Iowa 100 on June 23 at the Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. on July 3.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing