Toronto: Series qualifying report

WILSON BLAZES TO THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE IN TORONTO TORONTO (July 17, 2010) - Justin Wilson earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole, and set a series track record in the process, for the Honda Indy Toronto. Now all the Dreyer & Reinbold...

WILSON BLAZES TO THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE IN TORONTO

TORONTO (July 17, 2010) - Justin Wilson earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole, and set a series track record in the process, for the Honda Indy Toronto. Now all the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver has to do is hold off 25 challengers over 85 laps in Sunday's race.

Wilson posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 0.2710 seconds (104.827 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn street circuit at Exhibition Place to win the PEAK Performance Pole Award.

It was the second career pole earned for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing - the first by Sarah Fisher in 2002 at Kentucky Speedway.

Team Penske's Will Power will join Wilson on the front row. Power, five-time pole winner this season, had a best lap of 1:00.4563 in the Firestone Fast Six. The current championship points leader has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six in all 10 street/road course events he's competed for Team Penske.

Helio Castroneves (1:00.8159) in the No. 3 Team Penske car and Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport (1:00.8397), will share Row 2. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti (1:00.9477) and Scott Dixon (1:00.9541) will be on Row 3. Dixon extended his series record to 42 consecutive top-five starts.

All but Wilson are race winners this season. He obviously intends to become the eighth different winner.

"We've had a couple of tough races so to come back and get the pole here is just fantastic," said Wilson, who will seek his third IZOD IndyCar Series victory. "Everyone at Dreyer & Reinbold has worked so hard. I'm very pleased for Z-Line Designs. We'll keep pushing for the race. It's easy in this stage to sit back and relax, but we have a lot of work to do. It's great that this is the team's second career pole and I want to get their second career win. That's the big picture we're looking at but this is a great moment.

"After the difficulties at Watkins Glen (lost four spots to finish 10th) and Iowa (dropped 13 positions to finish 24th), it's been tough. We've been working so hard, trying to stay focused, stay on track and not go off on a tangent."

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

Erica Hill of the "CBS Early Show" took a high-speed ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater with Davey Hamilton as the driver on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn street circuit at Toronto's Exhibition Place.

"That was incredible," she said after being unhooked from microphones and unbelted from the back seat of the stretched Dallara chassis. "I thought it was going to be a lot faster, then I realized you were just warming up. That second lap, oh my goodness. That was a big difference."

That was Part 1. Three hours later, after waves of instruction and encouragement from Hamilton and IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power, she was strapped into the cockpit of a single-seat IndyCar (minus a few horsepower from the IZOD IndyCar Series cars) for a lap of the physically demanding course.

The segment will be broadcast on the CBS Early Show in the next few weeks.

***

Former NFL quarterback Jim Everett was among the thousands of spectators at the Exhibition Place venue to watch Firestone Indy Lights and IZOD IndyCar Series qualifications. "I've been to Indy and Long Beach so I guess I'm a veteran," said Everett, who played 12 seasons in the NFL out of Purdue. "It's really exciting how they determine the pole winner and I'm looking forward to the race."

***

Rahal Letterman Racing loaned the Quick Trim sponsorship that was on the No. 30 entry driven by Graham Rahal in the Indianpolis 500 to Newman/Haas Racing because of its conflicting American Le Mans Series schedule.

Rahal is driving the No. 02 Quick Trim car in the Honda Indy Toronto.

BOBBY RAHAL (Co-owner, Rahal Letterman Racing): "Obviously, when we first started discussing continuing the partnership, all of our efforts were based on us running our car with Graham and the guys at Rahal Letterman Racing. The entire team really answered the bell at Indy by putting together a great car, and off the track the Quick Trim story gained a lot of attention and gave the company nearly a 500 percent return-of-investment on its sponsorship dollars. But when it came down to it, we had to make sure that any effort we made did not detract from our BMW ALMS program, and to do that was going to be cost-prohibitive. So, in the interest of doing what was best for the sponsor, for Graham and for the sport, we reached out to our friends at Newman/Haas Racing."

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Justin Wilson claimed the PEAK Performance Pole Award for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto. It is first career IZOD IndyCar Series pole. His lap of 1:00.2710 is a new IZOD IndyCar Series track record.

* This is a second IZOD IndyCar Series pole for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. The team's only other pole was with driver Sarah Fisher in 2002 at Kentucky.

* This ends Team Penske's consecutive pole streak. Team Penske drivers have won the last 8 poles in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

* Will Power qualified second, his third consecutive front row star. This is both Power and Dario Franchitti's sixth consecutive top-five start of the season.

* Will Power has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six in all 10 road-street course starts he has made for Team Penske, a streak that started in April 2009 at St. Petersburg. Power qualified in the top six in 2009 at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto and Edmonton, and he has been in the top six this season at Sao Paulo, St. Petersburg, Barber, Long Beach,Watkins Glen and Toronto.

* Helio Castroneves will start third, his fifth consecutive top-five qualifying spot.

* The fourth place qualifying spot is Ryan Hunter-Reay best start since Long Beach in mid-April.

* This is Scott Dixon's 42nd top-ten start, extending the IZOD IndyCar Series record.

PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "It's great. We've had a couple of tough races so to come back and get the pole here is just fantastic. Everyone at Dreyer and Reinbold has worked so hard. I'm very pleased for Z-Line Designs. It's a good weekend so far. We have to keep it up. We'll keep pushing for the race. It's easy in this stage to sit back and relax, but we have a lot of work to do. It's great that this is the team's second career pole and I want to get their second career win. That's the big picture we're looking at but this is a great moment. After the difficulties at Watkins Glen and Iowa, it's been tough. We've been working so hard, trying to stay focus and stay on track and not go off on a tangent."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, second): "We definitely got the car better for qualifying today, but Justin was very quick and tough to beat. I am not sure I could have beaten him this time. I know I made a mistake at the end of my lap, but that was a tough qualifying session and I am exhausted. I feel good about tomorrow; I am not sure what will happen with the weather. Rain always stirs things up, but we will take it as it comes."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, fourth): "I am a little disappointed after yesterday being such a good day. We are P4; I missed P3 by two-hundredths of a second. It was a tight day, but its good being fourth and we can work from here. Justin saved red tires for the end and that was the move of the day. We couldn't beat him after that. "

PAUL TRACY (No. 15 Make A Wish -KV Racing Technology): "I really don't know what happened in qualifying. The car wasn't handling right. There was something drastically wrong with it. Now, that we are back at the truck, we found something wrong with the car's setup. It is very disappointing. It's too bad it happened during qualifying. The car just didn't do what we wanted. It was strange because I couldn't figure out why the car was feeling so weird. It didn't perform like that on Friday and earlier on Saturday. So, now we'll have to start from the back and drive our way up the field."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, qualified third): "It was exciting, we didn't know if the rain was coming or not. So we decided to keep going as fast as we could. We certainty had the car to get up there, but we just wanted to play it safe and to be in the top six. But in the top three is certainly a good position to win a race from."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Air Wick): "I normally wouldn't be happy with my position, but after practice yesterday and today, I'm very happy to be in the position I am in. In the qualifying segment, I thought I had run some of my best laps ever here, but, unfortunately, when it came to the Fast Six we had already used our reds, but we are in the top six which is a really good position to win the race from."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "I thought the session went pretty smooth, this track can be quite frustrating at times, being so bumpy, but I thought it went very well, and I'm happy to be in the position that I'm in."

MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "I was surprised how slippery the track was today. I just couldn't get the grip that I needed to put in a good lap. I love the Toronto track and I was expecting a good run after our top-five race at Watkins Glen. So I am disappointed with the qualifying run. We'll work hard overnight to improve the car for the race. Started back in the field is difficult, but Paul (Tracy) showed last year that you can come from the back and race at the front. That will be our goal."

E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA - Jet Aviation - KV Racing Technology): "Everyone with the No. 8 car felt like we would have a good car after the morning practice when we were P2. When we put on the other tires for qualifying, we had a huge understeer and we couldn't keep up the pace with the other drivers. I thought we had the speed to be in the top-three in the first qualifying session since we had done it earlier. It is difficult to understand because the car was so good before qualifying. Now, we'll have to get the race car prepared for warm-up on Sunday and find the speed once again."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "I'm a little disappointed because I thought we would make it into the fast six today. Unfortunately the crash early on hurt us. I give all the credit to the HP McAfee team for putting the car back together and getting us ready for qualifying. As hopeful as I was that we'd make the fast six, 11th is still a good result. It will be a long race tomorrow. We just need to be smart with our strategy and run a clean race.

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "It shows the strength of the team when you see that we never give up and work as hard as the National Guard Panther guys do because we've definitely improved the car a lot for qualifying. Looking forward to the race we'll continue to work in the direction that we did for qualifying because we made a significant step forward that was very encouraging. We still have the warm-up (practice) tomorrow to continue what we're doing and I think we'll have a very good race."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus - KV Racing Technology): "It's a very disappointing day for us. Toronto is a tough venue, but we made steady progress in the practice sessions. However, in qualifying, it looked like I was fast enough to move into the Q2 session but a mechanical failure caused me to stop on track. This resulted in a penalty and I lost my two fastest laps. Nevertheless, we'll work on the car in the morning warmup and be ready for the race tomorrow."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "I think the Venom car is good, it just wasn't as good as we wanted it to be. We're still missing it a bit on set-up, but I was pleased to make it out of the first round. We're starting inside the top ten in a very competitive field - anything could happen tomorrow."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven/Nestle Pure Life): "Qualifying was so close today and it always is. I missed making the Firestone Fast Six by four-thousandths of a second. But, it is what it is. Nowadays, that is what makes this series so hard and so exciting. We can definitely do it tomorrow. We've done it from 15th, so why can't we do it from eighth?"

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "I was pleased with our qualifying run today. It was great to advance out of our group, which had a lot of good cars in it. Today was a good step in the right direction. I'm happy with the GoDaddy car and hopefully we can have a decent day tomorrow."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co/A.J. Foyt Racing): "We have to figure out what happened in qualifying still. Definitely something that affected the brakes a lot happened—we know it's happening but we don't know where it's coming from yet. Before that everything was great, the car unloaded good, it was fast. I was able to learn the track fast, the car was up to it, the team's doing a great job, we just have to find what went wrong in qualifying. There's only one worst time to have a problem and that's in the race. It's going to be a tough day out there but in this position, it's easy to gamble."

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues July 18 with the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 12:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. 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 Toronto 100 on July 18 on the streets of Toronto.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Sarah Fisher , Davey Hamilton , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Graham Rahal , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Chip Ganassi , Will Power , A.J. Foyt
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , KV Racing Technology , Dragon Racing