Mid-Ohio: Series qualifying report

BRISCOE TAKES PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio (Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009) - Ryan Briscoe set an event record lap of 1 minute, 06.6814 seconds to claim the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by...

BRISCOE TAKES PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE AT MID-OHIO

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009) - Ryan Briscoe set an event record lap of 1 minute, 06.6814 seconds to claim the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance on Aug. 9.

Briscoe, who won the race last year in the No. 6 Team Penske car, will be joined on the front row by Justin Wilson (1:06.7007) in the No. 18 Z-Lines Design car for Dale Coyne Racing. Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will start third in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, while Ohio-native Graham Rahal will share Row 2 after a quick lap of 1:07.0640 in the Firestone Fast Six shootout in the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

Helio Castroneves, who started from the pole in 2007 and '08 in the No. 3 Team Penske car, will be on Row 3 with Dario Franchitti.

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DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

Dale Coyne Racing's transporter showed up to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a new look. In honor of the team's first win at Watkins Glen in July, Coyne had the transporter outfitted with a new vinyl wrap design that includes a large photo of the entire team, including Justin Wilson's daughter Jane, celebrating in Victory Lane.

"The trailer was looking old and tattered and we knew a wrap would freshen it up," team owner Dale Coyne said. "We've been meaning to wrap it but it's been a busy schedule and we haven't been in the shop long enough to do it. After Watkins Glen, we thought it would be a good tribute to the team and everybody that's been with us to do one like this. I've never seen one like this and I don't think anyone has. So, we came up with this idea and put the design together and got it done."

According to Coyne, the photo honors not just the current team members, but every person that has worked for Coyne over the years. The transporter will keep its current look for the remainder of the season.

Good memories for Rahal

Bobby Rahal made 16 starts (1983-98) at Mid-Ohio, posting eight top-three finishes (including the 1985 and '86 victories). In 2005, Graham Rahal raced in the Formula Atlantic class and won the same national title that his father claimed 30 years earlier in the SCCA National Run-offs.

"Getting to do a home race is quite exciting," said Rahal, who's driving the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. "Growing up, I came to Mid-Ohio and the Cleveland street course, which were the two closest courses for me. When I would go to dad's races, I used to always take all my buddies. I have a lot of fun memories and this is only my second Indy car race here, but I've raced several other times at this place. It's a circuit that means a lot to my family and to me. To do well there would mean quite a lot because I have a lot of friends and family who are coming here for that event, so to do well in front of them shows that I'm no slouch."

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Heading into the race weekend, 19 drivers are mathematically (all within 265 points of leader Briscoe) in contention for the IndyCar Series championship. … The Vision Racing Wellness Tour, supported by team sponsor Lilly USA, will offer spectators Aug. 9 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) free diabetes screenings and cholesterol and blood pressure testing. … Over the past month, 45 owners of Honda S2000s from Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati and Dayton have been promoting the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance with signs on their cars.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Ryan Briscoe's third PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season and the seventh pole of his IndyCar Series career. His most recent pole came at Watkins Glen in July.

* Justin Wilson qualified second, matching his season-best start. He also had front row starts at St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen.

* Dario Franchitti remains the only driver to have qualified for every Firestone Fast Six session this season.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "Mid-Ohio has treated Team Penske well. It's a lot of fun around this track. It's been tricky conditions so far with the rain and some patches in the corner. It changes the balance of the car from corner to corner. The red Firestones in final qualifying were awesome. A lot of grip, and as usual, a lot of fun to drive. The team has a lot of history here. We love the track. All the credit to the engineers and mechanics at Team Penske. They give us a fantastic car to drive and make my job a whole lot easier."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, qualified second): "It went well. The car was working well and everyone on the team has done a great job. I was hoping we could get the Z-line Design Furniture car on the front row, if not the pole, and we missed it by a fraction. That's frustrating, to know that your that close and it didn't quite happen. This is hopefully a repeat of Watkins Glen."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "It was alright. We set the overall fast time, but are starting third so it's frustrating. It just shows that the qualifying now is time management and strategy. I'm happy with the speed of the car. We definitely have the speed to win. We've just got to try to jump another few cars, which is going to be tough on this track.

GRAHAM RAHAL: (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, qualified fourth): "The McDonalds car felt pretty good all day. We were just trying to squeeze as much out of those red tires as we could. It took us a little while, that's for sure, to get to that point but I think at the end it felt pretty good. We didn't have new reds and some of the other guys did and we were just lacking that little bit. If we had a little more grip, I think we could have been awfully close to pole. That's what I would have loved, obviously, with this being my hometown but that's how it goes."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified fifth): "I don't think I would have been able to more than I did. It's a shame because we wanted to be on the front row like last year, but Ryan did a great job (pole). He saved a new set (of Firestone alternate tires) for the last qualifying, which paid off for him. We do have a very good car; it seems to be very close and it should be a lot of fun."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified sixth): "We're missing just a little bit on the road courses right now. The street courses have been good, so we have to keep working on that. I think we have a good race car. It seems to work OK on the (primary Firestone tires). I'm a little disappointed; we've made every (Firestone) Fast Six this year but we need to move up in it."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J Foyt Racing, qualified seventh): "We worked together well as a team this weekend , we made the ABC Supply car better from yesterday to today. We made the right changes on it. I did the driving and A.J. did the right changes and together we got it up to 7th. I wish we could have made the fast six cause it was close but that's how it goes. We're glad to get the team its best start this year and now we can work on getting its best finish."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, qualified eighth): "We have been working really hard to turn this situation around and we are making small steps. If you look back to Edmonton, we started 17th and 18th; this weekend we have four cars in the top 12. I was disappointed because I thought we had a chance at making the Fast Six, but the other teams made better progress throughout the sessions that we are able to.

E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA/HVM Racing, qualified ninth): "We had a pretty good qualifying effort. I'm very happy that every session we went out, we went a step forward. There's definitely an improvement in the car. I used the maximum out of what I had in my hands, and that's pretty good for me and for the team. From here, we have a pretty good base and we just need to start working a little harder in order to get into the third round of qualifying. It's another four or five tenths that we need, and those are the difficult ones."

PAUL TRACY (No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KVRT, qualified 10th): "The Azul/Votorantim/ KV Racing Technology team had an OK qualifying session. It's just super competitive out there. We made it into the top-12. I didn't think we would advance into the Firestone Fast Six, but I thought we would be in the top-10 and we ended up 10th. We still need to do some work on the car to make it better for the race. I want to thank Mario again for this opportunity. I just want to have a good race tomorrow for him and his family."

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE 6:30 a.m. Garage open
8:45 - 9:15 a.m. IndyCar Series warmup
1 p.m. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio pre-race
1:45 p.m.Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (85/192 miles), Live (VERSUS, 1 p.m.)

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The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 9 with the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. A one-hour qualifying show will be telecast by VERSUS at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 10 by VERSUS.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Graham Rahal , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Dale Coyne
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , HVM Racing , Dale Coyne Racing