Richmond: Series qualifying report

KANAAN WINS PEAK MOTOR OIL POLE AWARD AT RICHMOND RICHMOND, Va., Friday, June 27, 2008 - Tony Kanaan won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by Advance Auto Parts for Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond ...

KANAAN WINS PEAK MOTOR OIL POLE AWARD AT RICHMOND

RICHMOND, Va., Friday, June 27, 2008 - Tony Kanaan won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by Advance Auto Parts for Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

The Andretti Green Racing driver recorded a four-lap qualifying effort of 1 minute, 4.3333 seconds, 167.876 mph in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven machine. The pole is Kanaan's second of the season and the 10th of his IndyCar Series career.

Kanaan's teammate, Marco Andretti, will share the front row to start the 300-lap race on the .75-mile oval. Andretti's qualifying average was 167.795 mph.

Rookie Graham Rahal and series points leader Scott Dixon will start on Row 2, while past Indianapolis 500 winners Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005) while start on Row 3.

Rice turned in his best qualifying effort since the 2005 season finale. On the flip side, Helio Castroneves, who is second in points, qualified 18th, his lowest starting position since the middle of the 2004 season.

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Each car receives eight sets of Firestone Firehawks for the two-day weekend, however, the four drivers who received 30 minutes of practice time yesterday received one extra set, and the eight drivers who received 90 minutes of practice time yesterday received two extra sets. All tires used yesterday were returned prior to today's practice.

Firestone Racing selected the Richmond tire specification based on results from a tire at the track in March with drivers Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe. The Richmond tires feature the same left-side compounds and constructions as used at Milwaukee, paired with new right-side tires designed to add durability. Tire stagger (producing the right-rear tire with a slightly larger diameter than the left rear) also will play an important role this weekend since the cars are turning almost constantly on this shortest of ovals. Firestone tire stagger for Richmond will be approximately 0.60 of an inch, the largest stagger for any track in 2008.

AL SPEYER (Executive Director, Firestone Racing): "Richmond completes the run of all three IndyCar Series short ovals in a four-race span. The drivers say these tracks, while similar in length, are very different to drive. That's quite apparent from the Firestone tires as well, as we are using differing tire specifications for each of the three short tracks. The Firehawk spec for Richmond combines part of the Milwaukee spec with a new right-side spec confirmed at the Richmond tire test in March. We could have given the teams and drivers one tire spec for all three short ovals, but that's not how we do things at Firestone. Our race tire development staff is constantly working to make an excellent product better, even if it means developing different tire specs for similar tracks. The Richmond race is always exciting; with the new Firehawk tires, the larger field and an added 50 laps, it will only be more thrilling this year."

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Each pit box is 39 feet in length. Last year at Richmond, each pit box was 45 feet in length. The pit boxes are three feet shorter than they were at Milwaukee and one foot longer than they were at Iowa.

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HVM Racing has announced the restructure and appointment of several key positions. Kevin Lee, a long-time key figure at HVM Racing, has been appointed to vice president of operations, Ali Gursoy has been added as vice president of marketing and full-service marketing agency, Breaking Limits, has been acquired to lead its public and media relations efforts.

KEITH WIGGINS (Owner, HVM Racing): "These moves are a strong statement about HVM Racing, our commitment to the IndyCar Series and the direction we are taking. We are committed to growing our team in this new arena, as we did in the previous one. This restructure and additions will immediately help us build a better presence in the IndyCar Series while maintaining our focus of improving performance on the track. We've been satisfied with our progress in a very short time. But, by no means are we content. We are going to continue to grow off the track and maintain high expectations on the track. This is our next step for growth."

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Jaime Camara and his wife Geovanna welcomed their first child, a son named Lucca, at 11:48 a.m. yesterday. Lucca weighed 7 ½ lbs. Lucca spent the night in intensive care after experience some breathing problems, but was released this morning.

JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): "He worried us a lot, but he was taken out of intensive care this morning. Everything is fine. (Being a dad) hit me as soon as I saw him. It's a different feeling, hard to explain."

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Danica Patrick will be among the presenters at the 16th annual ESPY's in July. The show, which celebrates the best moments from the year in sports, will be taped July 16 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and will air July 20 on ESPN.

Other athletes who will participate in the show include Lance Armstrong, David Beckham, Steve Nash, David Ortiz, Candace Parker and Annika Sorenstam.

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Scott Lynch, the fueler on the #27 car driven by Hideki Mutoh, was injured in pit lane near the end of the first practice session when he was struck by Mutoh's car. Lynch suffered a right toe fracture and a left ankle contusion.

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Dreyer and Reinbold Racing announced a new sponsorship agreement with Rigid Building Systems and its partner company, COILMART, giving the companies presence on the race cars of Dreyer and Reinbold Racing throughout the 2008 season, beginning with the SunTrust Indy Challenge.

Rigid Building Systems is an engineered building systems manufacturer, and COILMART is a flat rolled steel distributor.

ROBBIE BUHL (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "This announcement says a lot about the growth of our race team and the IndyCar Series as a whole. We've been putting together a lot of deals lately, and this is the busiest we've been in doing so. We're already laying the ground work for a solid finish to 2008 and are already well ahead of where we usually are for next season's sponsorship programs. We're excited that Rigid Building Sytems and COILMART have seen the tremendous value and growth both the series and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing have in their respective futures."

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INDYCAR SERIES POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Tony Kanaan wins the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by Advance Auto Parts. This is Kanaan's second pole of the season and the 10th of his career. His last pole came at St. Petersburg. Kanaan's last pole on an oval was last season at Kentucky.

* This is the 22nd pole for Andretti Green Racing.

* Marco Andretti qualified second, his second front row start of the season. He won the pole at Milwaukee.

* This is the 36th time in IndyCar Series history and the third time this season that teammates have started 1-2. Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon shared the front row this season at Kansas and Indianapolis.

* This is the seventh time Andretti Green Racing teammates have shared the front row. The last time was at Kentucky in 2007 when Tony Kanaan won the pole and Dario Franchitti was second.

* Scott Dixon qualified fourth, his seventh consecutive top-five start, the longest active streak in the IndyCar Series.

* Buddy Rice qualified fifth, his best starting position of the season. His previous best was 11th at Homestead-Miami and Motegi. This is his best starting position since fifth at California in 2005.

* Bruno Junqueira qualified ninth, the best this season for him and Dale Coyne Racing. His previous best was 15th at Indianapolis and Texas. Those also marked Dale Coyne Racing's best starts in the IndyCar Series.

* Helio Castroneves qualified 18th, ending his streak of 11 consecutive top-10 starts. It was the longest active streak in the IndyCar Series. The record is 32 by Sam Hornish Jr. The last time Castroneves started 18th or lower was at Michigan in 2004 when he started 20th.

INDYCAR SERIES POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, qualified first): "If there was a place that I could choose to start on the pole, it's this one. I think we did a great job. I have to thank my teammates, Danica, Marco and Hideki. Danica and Hideki came and tested here a few weeks ago, and I think it helped us a lot. Me and Marco worked really well together this morning trying to find a good setup, and it was really good. I've been in the front quite a lot, but I haven't been able to accomplish things in the front. So we start all over again. The car was totally different than it was in the afternoon. But I think that with our experience, we knew what was going to happen. It helped that my teammates all qualified in front of me. It helped that I was one of the latest cars to qualify. The track is cooling off and getting better all the time. It's a good lead for what I need in the race as well. Hopefully the luck is on my side this weekend.&r dquo;

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Blockbuster, second): "We really nailed the setup on the Blockbuster car today, especially when you consider that we didn't get proper runs in practice because we caught traffic each time. It was a great day for Andretti Green Racing, though. It's good to start up front, especially at this place. Tony (Kanaan) and I both have very good race cars, so I'm excited about tomorrow."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps, third): "Everything really came together for us in qualifying. We've been struggling here all weekend. Luckily if it was going to come together at one point, it's good that it's in qualifying. It would be even better if it came together tomorrow. Obviously it's important to start up front here because it's really hard to pass, so we're pretty happy. We made a bunch of changes. The guys did a good job, because all weekend we've been struggling and struggling and just didn't know what to do, so I didn't know what to expect in qualifying. I figured we would be close to Justin's time, but when I went out there, the car was really good. The only thing holding me back from going flat was that I couldn't get the car to downshift mid-corner. I think that if our gearing was a little bit different, which we will know for next year because we didn't expect to go this fast obviously, I think we would have had a shot at pole."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fourth): "I think both of us in the Target cars left quite a bit on the line. We didn't get as much as we should have out of the car. Going earlier was a big problem for us tonight. As you can see, a lot of slower cars (in practice) went quicker than us at the end (of qualifying). It's tough but (the qualifying order) is drawn out of a hat, so maybe it will help us out later in the season. All in all, it looks pretty decent. The Target cars are quite far up, and the Penske cars are back a little bit, and we've got very good race cars."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, fifth): "We've been chasing that car all day. This is great for Dreyer and Reinbold, Roll Coater, Rigid, and all the guys right now. It's disappointing that last weekend in Iowa we had a wheel bearing failure. We had a really strong car there. We wanted to come here and run strong. This is one of the places that's kind of an equalizer. It's good for us."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, sixth): "To be honest, it was a disappointing qualifying performance on my behalf. I somewhat struggled with the car in the first and second practice, and we definitely improved it a lot for qualifying. We definitely were affected by the draw that we got, but that's part of the new system. I just left too much on the table, and that was disappointing. I've done that a couple of times now just because we haven't had a perfect weekend yet, and that's what we need to do to make sure that we're sitting on the pole. Because if you don't, you're not going to be on the pole, and that was the case today."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, seventh): "Right before we went out, we made a small change on the car, and I think we shouldn't have made the change. It would've been nice if we could start from a better position, but seventh starting position is not bad, so it is OK. I will concentrate on the race, and hopefully we will be able to move up to the front."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing, eighth): "I'm happy with our qualifying after we were struggling quite a bit in practice today. The Lilly guys did a really great job making a bunch of changes and getting the car ready for qualifying. I'm happy for the team because we actually get a decent starting position for this race, and that'll be important. I think we're finally getting a bit of luck turning our way here, and every little bit helps. Qualifying later was definitely an advantage, but we'll take it. It's good to have the Lilly car and the Menards car both in two solid starting positions."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, ninth): "I'm very pleased with how the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car qualified today. We were the fifth-fastest in the practice session before qualifying, so we knew we had a fast car and would do well in qualifying. I'm very proud of the hard work the team has put into the car all week. It should be an interesting race Saturday night as this track is sort of a one-groove track. Hopefully we can bring home a good finish. It should be a very exciting race."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, 10th): "It was a lot of fun. These types of short ovals where you are so much on the edge, makes it always exciting. The KV Racing Technology car was really good. We just had the front a little too low, it was touching the ground. In Turn 4, I had a big moment. I almost lost it, which is why my hands are a little shaky right now, but it's part of qualifying, part of the fun. Overall, I am quite happy with the result, and I want to thank the team for all their hard work. Hopefully, we can have a good race tomorrow, at least better than the last two, and move up a little in the standings."

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):

Noon
Garages open

7 p.m.
SunTrust Indy Challenge pre-race

8 p.m.
SunTrust Indy Challenge (300 laps/225 miles)

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The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the SunTrust Indy Challenge June 28 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning Duels same-day doubleheader on July 5 at Watkins Glen International. The races will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 10 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Graham Rahal , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Scott Lynch , Jaime Camara , Dale Coyne , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , KV Racing Technology , HVM Racing , Dale Coyne Racing