Giaffone and Castroneves take second row for Chevy at Kentucky Speedway. SPARTA, Ky., August 10, 2002 -- Felipe Giaffone and Helio Castroneves gambled on rapidly changing track conditions today and claimed the second row of the starting grid for...
Giaffone and Castroneves take second row for Chevy at Kentucky Speedway.
SPARTA, Ky., August 10, 2002 -- Felipe Giaffone and Helio Castroneves gambled on rapidly changing track conditions today and claimed the second row of the starting grid for Chevrolet in qualifying for Sunday's Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. After the two drivers waved off their first qualifying runs, Giaffone's Chevy-powered G-Force and Castroneves Chevrolet-equipped Dallara qualified third and fourth respectively at 220.430 mph and 220.387 mph. Chevrolet engines took three of the top five and six of the top 10 starting positions.
Sarah Fisher, 21, became the first woman to win an Indy car pole with a 221.390 qualifying speed in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Infiniti-G Force. Billy Boat ran 221.364 in Curb Records' Infiniti-Dallara to take the outside front row starting spot.
Rubber left by a stock car race and 92-degree heat combined to produce a slick surface when qualifying began at 5:30 p.m. After the first five drivers in the qualifying order waved off their runs, Eliseo Salazar posted the first qualifying lap at 213.901 mph that put him last in the 26-car field.
Sam Hornish Jr. fired off a 220.341 mph run in Panther Racing's Chevrolet Dallara that briefly put him on the pole after mechanical problems limited him to only 34 laps in practice.
"We had a few minor setbacks today but the guys never let me down," said Hornish, who will make his sixth consecutive top-five start. "Sometimes it might take us a little longer to get there than it normally does, but the Panther team, Chevrolet and Firestone have worked so hard for us this year to make sure we're up toward the front.
"Everybody else was saying how slippery it was, so we put too much downforce on the car," Hornish explained. "We probably could have run a little faster. You might see some of that slipping and sliding tomorrow depending on the temperature. It's going to a good handling car that wins tomorrow, not the car with the most horsepower."
Giaffone made the most of his single qualifying lap after waving off his first attempt.
"The track was really slick the first time, and the second time I managed to go flat all the way around," he reported. "When we put some downforce in we were good. We didn't test here, but for qualifying the track changed so much that even for the guys who tested here it didn't make much difference. I think that's why I gained on them."
Castroneves was second in the qualifying draw, but he also elected to gamble on better track conditions later in the day.
"We changed the car but also the conditions changed," he said. "The first run was terrible, but the second one was much smoother and I was able to maintain the throttle all the way around. That's what we're looking for."
Buddy Lazier's bid for a third straight victory at Kentucky Speedway will begin from the ninth spot on the grid in Hemelgarn Racing's Chevrolet Dallara.
"We lost a ton of rpm," Lazier noted. "I was at lower rpm in fifth gear than I was this morning in sixth, and I'm flat. It was still a great run and I'm happy about how the weekend is going. We want a three-peat."
The Belterra Casino Indy 300 will start at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 11. The 300-mile, 200-lap race will be televised live on ABC and broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.