IRL: Milwaukee: Saturday qualifying report

PENSKE TEAMMATES SWEEP FRONT ROW MILWAUKEE, Wis., Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Sam Hornish Jr. led a Marlboro Team Penske sweep of the front row for the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 with an IndyCar Series track-record lap of 170.296 mph ...

PENSKE TEAMMATES SWEEP FRONT ROW

MILWAUKEE, Wis., Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Sam Hornish Jr. led a Marlboro Team Penske sweep of the front row for the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 with an IndyCar Series track-record lap of 170.296 mph (21.4567 seconds) in the No. 6 Toyota-powered Dallara. Helio Castroneves followed (170.219; 21.4665) in the No. 3 car.

It was a record eighth pole at The Milwaukee Mile for Roger Penske (of 152 through his long and illustrious career) at the track on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, and the third of the season for Hornish.

"With how quickly he went this morning, we knew that Helio was going to be our main competition for the pole today," said Hornish, who was just off his teammate's 21.3460-second (171.180 mph) pace in the practice session. "We just went out there and put up the best lap that we could. There was a little bit more push than what we wanted in the car, but it was good enough to do what we needed it to."

Separated by 0.0098 of a second, both are capable of delivering Penske Racing its sixth victory at the Mile (Rick Mears in 1978, '88 and '89; Bobby Unser in 1980; and Al Unser Jr. in 1994). It also was the second front-row sweep for the teammates. At Richmond International Raceway a month ago, Hornish started from the pole and Castroneves won the race.

Tomas Scheckter (169.000) and IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon (168.553) are in Row 2, while Scheckter's Panther Racing teammate, Buddy Lazier (168.514), and rookie Danica Patrick (167.328) occupy Row 3.

POST MARLBORO POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, won Marlboro Pole Award): "With how quickly he went this morning, we knew that Helio was going to be our main competition for the pole today. We just went out there and put up the best lap that we could. There was a little bit more push than what we wanted in the car, but it was good enough to do what we needed it to. This is a great opportunity. We've had some things fall through the cracks at Kansas and Richmond, but we look at those days and those are behind us. We move forward from there. It's days like this where we go out, get a good starting position, we have a good view for the start of the race, and just go out there and run our own pace and hopefully not give ourselves any problems. If we go out there and stay out of trouble, we should be OK."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, qualified second): "Starting last, it was nice to know the lap times of everyone. Unfortunately, I had a huge push entering (turn) four, even on my fast lap. I couldn't believe it. I'm like, 'OK I'm going to try it again.' We made some adjustments to the car to try to go fast, and then obviously it went even worse. I was very pleased, suprised by the time. It was so close between me and Sam (Hornish Jr.), with the problems that I had. It was just a shame because obviously you'd like to get the pole. I'm hopeful for the race right now and we can finish like we did in Richmond."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, qualified third): "I screwed myself on that run. I didn't realize that I had another lap to go and just backed off. We had such a great car. The Pennzoil guys and Chevrolet did everything they were supposed to do. I just threw it away. I'm very upset with myself at the moment. But, at least we're still starting very close to the front, and I'll be able to make up for it early in the race. A lot can happen tomorrow and the good cars always find their way to the front."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "The Klein Tools/Jim Beam team is a little bit up against it here. It seems like we're very close to being flat out around this track, but not quite. Obviously, the Honda guys are helping out as much as they can, and we're all going to work together to make sure we've got good race cars. You've got what you've got, and you have to make the best of it. This is what makes Milwaukee what it is. It never goes completely to plan because this track is so difficult."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, qualified fifth): "We had a pole car today, and that's all I can ask out of my team. The conditions changed a lot from this morning, and we picked up a major push in our qualifications. This is the first short oval I've been on in a long time, so I'm not totally up to speed on the tendencies of the track. Our ROCKSTAR racecar is just awesome in race setup, and Panther always get it right for the race. We've also got everything we need out of Chevrolet, and it will really show tomorrow."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, qualified sixth): "Overall, it was a decent run. The track seemed to slow this afternoon, so some speeds were off from this morning. The most important thing is that this car can hold on for 225 laps on Sunday. That is the key for us. I'm just glad my time stood up for the qualifying session. With the temperature change, I wasn't sure if I could stay in the top five or six. The car was well balanced. Sunday's race will be a matter of getting through traffic well. You have to be confident in your passing and attacking the corners. We'll do our best and pray for a little luck on Sunday. I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of support wherever I go and even more so here in Milwaukee. I have a lot of family and friends that come from Roscoe (Ill.) to see me race. This is the closest track to my hometown. That is pretty exciting."

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, qualified seventh): "The car was pretty good, and the track was really similar to practice. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the result, because we had a bit of a gear shifter problem going into (Turn) one on the first qualifying lap. We thought that we could have gone a little bit quicker, but there was a bit of a problem when I tried to downshift, so we're going to have to check it out. The car balance is really good right now. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we're going to do race setup wise, but we keep hearing that it's supposed to be really hot tomorrow, so that will change things a bit for us."

ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "We made some changes yesterday between sessions one and two which really helped us find some speed. I was here in (Toyota) Atlantics in '02, and the track has changed a little, with the patch on the inside, so the line is a little different. But different is good. We were able to pretty much run the same speed as this morning, picking up a little in Turn 3 and 4. The car setup is not optimal for quals, but I'm really comfortable with it for the race."

JIMMY KITE (No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It's not what we were hoping for, but not bad. It was the best lap I've run all weekend. I got a little greedy and tried to run flat. Couldn't quite do it. I'm looking forward to final warmup. We have one final change to make. This is the most excited I've been about a race since Richmond. The car should be good in the race, so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, will start 21st after failing to make a qualifying attempt): "I went out and the No. 10 Target Toyota Panoz was really loose, and I had a bit of a moment between Turns 3 and 4. We decided to come in and not take the chance to damage another car after Ryan's accident. Since we concentrated on race setup more than qualifying, we likely would have started in the second half of the field anyways, so we didn't really lose anything. The team has been a bit more conservative this weekend running more downforce than we might usually, but this isn't a track that is very forgiving. We want to run this race even if it means starting from the back. We've been working on race setups and running full tank runs, and I feel pretty good about the car and being able to move up quickly and having a good race."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing