Kentucky: Series Friday report

CARPENTER WINS POLE FOR KENTUCKY INDY 300 SPARTA, Ky. (Friday, Sept. 3, 2010) - Ed Carpenter claimed his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole position, winning the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky...

CARPENTER WINS POLE FOR KENTUCKY INDY 300

SPARTA, Ky. (Friday, Sept. 3, 2010) - Ed Carpenter claimed his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole position, winning the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car became the 10th different pole winner in 11 races at Kentucky with a two-lap average of 217.933 mph (48.8958 seconds) on the 1.5-mile oval. His previous best start was fourth at Michigan in 2006 and Homestead-Miami in '09. The top 23 cars were separated by 1 second.

Will Power (217.829 mph) will start on the front row for the 11th time this season in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, and potentially put some distance between himself and Dario Franchitti in the championship chase. Power enters the 200-lap race with a 23-point lead, and Franchitti starts 11th in the No. 10 Dixie entry for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

Carpenter's teammate for the third time this season, Dan Wheldon, will start a season-high third in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car and Scott Dixon also will be on Row 2 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.

Also on Sept. 3, Pippa Mann's positive run on ovals continued in Sunoco Pole Qualifying for the Buckle Up. Drive Smart Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway as the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver earned her second pole start of the season.

Mann recorded a two-lap average of 190.474 mph (55.9447 seconds) to vault Martin Plowman (190.309 mph) and become the third female to start on the pole at Kentucky Speedway (Sarah Fisher in 2002 and Danica Patrick in 2005 in the IZOD IndyCar Series).

Mann finished a career-best second Aug. 28 in the Chicagoland 100 on that 1.5-mile oval. She also started from the pole this season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Firestone Freedom 100.

Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader J.K. Vernay (189.914) of Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be joined on the second row by Walker Racing's Dan Clarke (190.128). James Hinchcliffe of Team Moore Racing, the closest pursuer of Vernay for the title, will start fifth (189.914).

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in the Kentucky Indy 300, a 200-lap race at 8:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday (live on VERSUS). The Firestone Indy Lights series will compete in the Drive Smart. Buckle Up Kentucky 100, a 67-lap race at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

***

This is the 11th IndyCar Series event held at Kentucky Speedway. Ryan Briscoe is the defending race winner, while Scott Dixon was awarded the Peak Performance Pole Award last year after qualifying was cancelled due to rain. Briscoe ( 2009,) Scott Dixon (2007 and 2008), Tony Kanaan (2006) are past winners of the event who are entered in the event.

IZOD IndyCar Series technical information for the Kentucky Indy 300:

Honda overtake assist

Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make be used for the second time at Chicagoland Speedway in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.

For the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway
20 uses
12 seconds duration each use
10-second recharge period between uses

Firestone Firehawk tires

Each car receives eight sets (32 tires) of tires.

Firestone's tire specification for Kentucky Speedway was developed from testing at Chicagoland Speedway in June and is the same spec used at the race there last week. It places new, higher-grip tread compounds for the right-side tires onto the same right-side tire constructions used this season at Kansas and Texas, and pairs that with the identical left-side tire construction/compound specs used at Kansas.

AL SPEYER (Executive Director of Firestone Racing): "Drivers should be happy to know they will be racing on the exact same tire at Kentucky Speedway that they used with such confidence last weekend at Chicagoland. In fact, Dario Franchitti and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team had enough confidence to not change tires on their last pit stop, which gave them enough of an advantage to hang on for a victory and take a big chunk out of Will Power's championship lead with just three races left in the season. No one knows exactly what surprises the Kentucky Indy 300 race has in store, but I can't wait to see it all play out on our Firestone Firehawk race tires."

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Earlier this week, IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi was city hall in his native Pittsburgh. He received a proclamation that declared it Chip Ganassi Day.

"I never thought about something like this happening, because I've always been a guy who just wanted to go racing," Ganassi said. "I've transformed my avocation into my livelihood."

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Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay tested on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago. Andretti, who placed third at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28 to lead Hunter-Reay (fourth) and Tony Kanaan (fifth) across the line, believes he's poised to be a contender.

"I've had a podium (third in 2008) here in the past so I'm optimistic that the Meijer car will be a contender this weekend. We need to keep the momentum from Chicago going and I think the three remaining ovals should give a good opportunity to end the season on a high note."

Added Hunter-Reay, who has a high finish of ninth in three races at Kentucky Speedway: "I'm looking forward to the payoff this weekend. As a team, Andretti Autosport has worked very hard to raise its game on the ovals this year and we're seeing the benefits of that hard work. It's great to go to the track every week knowing that Team IZOD will have something to say about the outcome and I expect more of the same at Kentucky."

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Vitor Meira made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. He missed last year's race while recuperating from a back injury suffered in the Indianapolis 500.

"The learning curve was just so steep and I had so much to learn. It was the first time I raced on an oval, the first time I did pit stops, my first time for wheel-to-wheel racing, so I had a lot to learn. We had 25 cars and I ended up finishing 13th, which was good and the reason is I learned a lot. I remembered in the last 50 laps passing Raul Boesel. I used to watch him when I was in go karts and he was in Formula 1 and Indy cars so it was a cool feeling and from that point on things took off."

Meira, who injured his wrist in an incident at Chicagoland, declared his wrist to be 80 percent.

***

Strong history for Panther: Panther Racing earned the pole with Scott Goodyear in the first IZOD IndyCar Series event at the track in 2000, and finished on the podium in each of its first four starts. Sam Hornish Jr. captured the team's only victory at the track in 2003, when he started from the pole, led 181 of 200 laps and lapped every car in the field except second-place finisher Scott Dixon. More recently, Vitor Meira started on the front row in 2008 and led five laps before finishing in the fourth position. Current driver Dan Wheldon, who was runner-up Aug. 28 at Chicagoland Speedway, twice has finished third in the race.

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Ed Carpenter won the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Kentucky Indy 300. This is Carpenter's first career IZOD IndyCar Series pole. His previous best career start was fourth (Michigan 2006, Homestead 2009).

* Carpenter is the 10th different polesitter in 11 IZOD IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

* Will Power qualified second, his 11th front row start of the 2010 season.

* Dan Wheldon qualified third, his best starting position of the season. His previous best start was seventh at Chicagoland.

* Bertrand Baguette qualified sixth, a career best IZOD IndyCar Series start. His previous best start was 13th at Infineon.

* Mario Moraes qualified seventh, his season best start. His previous best start this season ninth (Texas, Watkins Glen).

***

Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, IRL Medical director: Ryan Hunter-Reay was checked and released from the Infield Care Center. He is cleared to drive.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "We were just being way too aggressive on trying to get the car as free and as neutral as possible in qualifying. Just trying to qualify up a little higher. The track gripped up, definitely got looser. So when we went out, combined with the changes we made, it was too loose. It gave me a little warning sign there in Turns 3 and 4. It kind of got a little loose and then coming out of Turn 1, it did a big wiggle and I couldn't get it back."

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy's Vodka, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "I love this track and this area. I won one of my national midget races in Louisville and won a lot of sprint car races in Salem, Indiana. The southern Indiana/Kentucky region seems to be good to me for some reason. The way I kind of look at it, I'm trying to keep my career going so every minute I'm in the car, I have to do the best that I can and get the most out of it. I'm just having a lot of fun right now; the Panther team is going a great job in addition with the Vision Racing part of it. It's just a lot of fun."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, qualified second): "My qualifying run was very straightforward. This was a typical oval run with lots of wind and low grip. It is good for the #12 Team Verizon car to start on the front row. I need a good result on a 1.5-mile oval this season and it's important that we finish ahead of Dario (Franchitti) to keep the points lead. I feel that qualifying is very important but this track allows for passing and a lot can happen during the race."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified fourth): "At the start of the qualifying run the car was extremely loose and we still had a lot of driving to do. It is a windy day here and it doesn't take a lot to get the cars out of shape. After all, it was a good day for the #9 Target car. After Dario's run, we made a few changes, but qualifying is tough. For example, last week in Chicago we don't know what happened during qualifying or why. There are strange things that can happen at these places."

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, qualified third): "It was obviously a great job by everybody at the National Guard Panther Racing team and we've been enjoying the good run we've had the last few races. The wind was gusting out there and I noticed it more in Turn Three during my qualifying run than I did this morning in the practice. This was just qualifying and we're going to continue to work very hard in the warm-up session for the race and it's such a great benefit to have Ed Carpenter with us this weekend in the Fuzzy's Vodka car. Ed's been a great addition and he's really helped the team, as you can see by our performance today. It's going to be a hectic race again and I'm excited for that. Hopefully we can go one position better than we did last race in the No. 4 car but that's not to underestimate the competition; it's extremely competitive out there and I'm just having a lot of fun right now."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, qualified fifth): "It was nice to hold the fastest spot for a while and end up fifth fastest. It is more than we expected. The car was handling well so I really pushed it. We struggled a lot this morning and decided to just go for it in qualifying. We didn't take off all of the downforce for qualifying; we went about half-way and it looks like it worked out well for us. We are going to focus on the race setup now and having a good, strong race tomorrow. "

BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 34 RACB/Conquest Racing, qualified sixth): "I had a good qualifying run. I must admit I was a bit surprised with our speed. It's faster than I thought it would be because we didn't do any qualifying runs in practice. I made a small mistake on my second lap that cost us some speed so I didn't think at the end of my qualifying laps that we would end up P6 on the grid. As a team, we placed both cars in the top ten and beat out teams like Ganassi and Penske, so that is very encouraging for us. We might be a small team compared to others but we're doing great things."

MARIO MORAES (#32 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY, qualified seventh): "The KV Racing car felt pretty good despite the windy conditions this afternoon. The track was so different this morning with the cool, cloudy weather. Then, this afternoon, we had sunny and windy conditions. Almost the opposite. The wind makes a different feeling in the turns. You want the car to be neutral, no oversteer or understeer. That is difficult with the windy conditions. But I think we'll have a good car for Saturday night's race. It is supposed to be cooler and that could change the setups too."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified eighth): "Today the Team Penske car was not quite what it needed to be in qualifying. Certainly, the wind was a factor today. We will be working on our race set-up in tonight's practice and I know we'll be in contention Saturday night during the race. Will is starting up front and Ryan is starting in the row behind me so we just need to work together to have a strong result."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, qualified ninth): "We kind of guessed on our setup for qualifying. We didn't get a chance to do a practice run this morning because practice was shortened (due to rain). We knew it just wasn't a qualifying lap that was going to threaten for pole. I think we still have a starting position where we can compete for the win tomorrow and if it's anything like last year's race in Kentucky, it's going to be a really exciting race."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 36 Norcote Conquest Racing, qualified 10th): "I'm really happy with my qualifying position. We only did race runs in practice but we trimmed a lot of downforce out ahead of qualifying and the Conquest guys did a great job to give me a qualifying car like that. I'm also really happy that Norcote is on board this weekend and to give them a top ten on the grid for their first race is great. As I said, we worked on our race setup in practice and had a good car so hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing, qualified 12th): "The run wasn't so bad with the wind. Because of the wind maybe we weren't in the best optimized gear. The balance on the car was good and for the race, it's very good. Twelfth is a position that we can at least keep our nose clean on the start. Things are getting better - we definitely improved on qualifying especially with the competition getting as tight as it is. I think the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team did a very good job so we can go racing with our nose clean."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, qualified 13th): "It was a good effort from everyone, the car was a little bit loose in qualifying but we were faced with a lot of wind gusts, which was very different from the conditions in the morning. Our first lap was a P9 lap but we dropped off on lap two, I got loose and we lost a little momentum, but it was still good. The car was a little closer than it was starting in Chicago and we had a really fast car in Chicago so from where we start we can definitely make it to the front."

TAKUMA SATO (#5 LOTUS - KV RACING TECHNOLOGY, qualified 14th): "We struggled to find the balance in qualifying today. I think the reason was because, in morning practice, it was much cooler and we had some moisture. This afternoon, it was dry and much hotter. These big changes in conditions really affect the car and I think it caught out other teams also. I am confident we will find the balance and prepare the car for the race in the next session tonight."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer, qualified 15th): "The Meijer car was way loose, there definitely was something wrong - we missed something in the set up and that opening lap killed us. This is more of a handling track and there is more emphasis on car balance. Ideally we'll have a strong enough car tomorrow that our starting position won't matter."

SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "The car just didn't repeat itself out there. We've been having some gear box issues that are unexplainable at this point, so it will be a lot of computer work from here forward. I'm hoping that we can come from the back tomorrow, just like we did at Chicagoland last weekend. I've got a teammate out there with me tomorrow night so I'm hoping we can work together to get our cars to the front. We always seem to have good race cars, just struggle a bit in qualifying. We'll get there." -Sarah

E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology): "On my qualifying run, the car was too positive on the front end. I had a big oversteer. I could have lost the rear of the car. I didn't want that to happen, so I adjusted my bars in the car and survived that qualifying run. The track was so different from the morning practice with the heavy air and cool temperatures. Then we had the sun and windy conditions in qualifying. I feel pretty confident for the race. We have been coming from the back on the ovals this year, and we have driven into the top-five several times. I think we can do that again here."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 66 Service Central/National Tire & Battery/SFR): "The setup of this car is something that I'm familiar with, but it's just not translating at all. Our car is just flat out slow; it doesn't build speed. It's frustrating because the guys worked really hard to put a setup on the car that I knew. It's just not working for us. It's pretty frustrating to be flat and run like this, but we're not giving up. We'll just have to work our way through the field tomorrow night."

SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Pippa Mann won her second Sunoco Pole Award of 2010. It is her 2nd career pole in the Firestone Indy Lights career. She also won the Sunoco Pole Award at Indianapolis.

* Martin Plowman qualified second, his ninth top-five start of the season.

SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING QUALIFYING QUOTES:

PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sunoco Pole Award winner): "Last week was a really good week for us, we had a nice run in the race. We came here hoping for something similar. I'm really, really pleased to get the pole. We didn't seem to think that we were that quick but we've been on the front row for three out of the four oval races this year and every time we thought we were a top-five car so maybe there's something to it. Today, I really have to thank my teammates. They let me know what their cars were doing and I was able to use my in-car tools so huge thank you goes out to not only my guys by J.K. Vernay and Philip Major for letting me know what was going on out there."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing, qualified second): "We just missed out on the pole, but it was still a great effort for the #27 crew. We have been on the front row for three out of the last four races. We have had two poles and a second so we seem to be hitting our stride. Starting on the pole doesn't mean a lot for the race because things can happen so quickly. We are starting on the front row here so hopefully we can have a good, clean race tomorrow."

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The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues Sept. 4 with the Kentucky Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Drive Smart. Buckle Up Kentucky 100 on Sept. 4 at Kentucky Speedway.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Raul Boesel , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Will Power , Pippa Mann , Bertrand Baguette , James Hinchcliffe , Mario Moraes , Martin Plowman , A.J. Foyt , Dan Clarke , Ed Carpenter , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , FAZZT Race Team , Conquest Racing