KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (July 6, 2002) - Tomas Scheckter earned his second career Indy Racing pole position, his first coming in June at the Texas Motor Speedway. Scheckter blistered Scott Sharp's existing qualifying record of 216.175 mph by touring...
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (July 6, 2002) - Tomas Scheckter earned his second career Indy Racing pole position, his first coming in June at the Texas Motor Speedway. Scheckter blistered Scott Sharp's existing qualifying record of 216.175 mph by touring the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway at 218.547 mph.
"The track changed a lot from this morning," said Scheckter, who also broke the existing track record set by Mark Dismore on lap 125 of last year's race.
Scheckter' teammate and car owner Eddie Cheever held the provisional pole for ten minutes until knocked off the top spot by Sam Hornish, who went eleven one-thousandths of second quicker.
"We had a good idea of what happened because Eddie came to me and the engineers and told us what was going on," Scheckter said. "Really, it was an easy job for me. Fortunately for me, I went out a little later. Unfortunately for Eddie, he went out earlier and was kind of the guinea pig in the situation."
"I am proud of Tomas," said Cheever. "With the debut of the Infiniti Pro Series this weekend, TWR Engines has been very busy with the Infiniti powerplant. We really have to thank them for their part in getting the Red Bull cars first and third in the field today."
Three of the top four cars on the grid were powered by Infiniti engines, with Sam Hornish's Chevrolet-powered Dallara starting on the outside of the front row.
After knocking Cheever from the pole, Hornish admitted he had one more driver to worry about, "and he's the one that got me."
Laurent Redon and Buddy Lazier rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran, who have swept the front row three times this season, qualified seventh and 21st, respectively, after suffering with ill-handling cars.
De Ferran, who has earned three pole positions this season, was the first Penske driver to qualify. "I really don't know what happened during our qualifying run," de Ferran said after posting a speed nearly seven mph slower than the pole. "We went out with a car that was handling really well. I was able to run a 216.9 mph by myself this morning. During qualifying, the car had so much understeer that I almost crashed in (turn) four on my opening lap."
Despite the advantage of being the second team car to post a qualifying run, Castroneves opted to return to the pits before taking the green flag.
"The track changed a lot since the morning session which I think was because of a combination of the heat, the wind shifting and the rubber laid down during the truck race," said Castroneves.
"We had a lot of understeer in turns 3 and 4 so we did the safe thing by waving off our first run."
Castroneves then reported to the end of the qualifying line, where he would be given a single lap to qualify. "When I came back out, the car was handling much better and I was able to put it in the top-ten. Team Penske did a great job with the adjustments and really made a great save. Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the race tomorrow."
The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 takes the green flag at noon local time with live television coverage provided by ABC at 1:00 P.M. EDT.
Notes from the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at the Kansas Speedway:
Tony George, Brian Barnhart and Ken Ungar announced today a 16-race 2003 Indy Racing League schedule. Most tracks retain their traditional dates with the noticeable difference being the Nazareth race moved to late August and a visit to California Speedway in September.
2003 Indy Racing League Schedule
DATE - TRACK - TELEVISION
March 2 - Homestead-Miami Speedway - ABC March 23 - Phoenix International Raceway - ABC April 23 - Twin Ring Motegi- ABC May 25 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway -ABC June 7* - Texas Motor Speedway - ESPN June 15 - Pikes Peak International Raceway - ABC June 28* - Richmond International Raceway -ESPN July 6 - Kansas Speedway - ABC July 19* - Nashville Superspeedway - ESPN July 27 - Michigan International Speedway - ABC Aug. 10 - Gateway International Raceway - ABC Aug. 17 - Kentucky Speedway - ABC Aug. 24 - Nazareth Speedway - ESPN Sept. 7 - Chicagoland Speedway - ABC Sept. 21 - California Speedway - ABC Oct. 12 - Texas Motor Speedway - ESPN * - night race