Watkins Glen: Series qualifying report

POWER WINS FIFTH POLE OF 2010 AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Saturday, July 3, 2010) - IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power continued Team Penske's domination of qualifying by earning the pole for the Camping World Grand Prix at The...

POWER WINS FIFTH POLE OF 2010 AT WATKINS GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Saturday, July 3, 2010) - IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power continued Team Penske's domination of qualifying by earning the pole for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen . It was his series-leading fifth PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season.

Power's top lap of 1 minute, 29.3164 seconds, 135.832 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine kept Team Penske's perfect pole record over the six years of this race at Watkins Glen International. Penske will seek its first victory in the event when the race starts at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 4 (live on ABC, IMS Radio Network).

Team Penske drivers swept the top three spots in the Firestone Fast Six shootout. Helio Castroneves qualified second at 1:29.4609, 135.612 in the No. 3 entry, while Ryan Briscoe was third at 1:29.9346, 134.898 in the No. 6 entry.

It was the first time this season one team has swept the front row in qualifying. The top three rows were separated by less than a second. Six different teams are represented in the first six rows.

Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti qualified fourth at 1:29.9601, 134.860 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, with rookie Takuma Sato fifth at 1:30.1410, 134.589 in the No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology entry.

2009 Watkins Glen winner Justin Wilson rounded out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:30.2667, 134.402 in the No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car.

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

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IZOD IndyCar Series fans have selected racing icon Mario Andretti as Indy car road racing legend to be honored by the series.

Fans selected Andretti as the honoree for the road championship trophy with 44 percent of the vote through a poll on indycar.com, the official website of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Alex Zanardi was second with 25 percent of the vote. Other nominees were: Dan Gurney (12 percent), Al Unser Jr. (10 percent) and Mark Donohue (8 percent).

Andretti was one of the most successful Indy car drivers with 52 victories - second to A.J. Foyt on the all-time list- and a record 67 pole positions. He won four Indy car titles in his career and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969.

Among his 23 road course victories were wins at Indianapolis Raceway Park (4), Mont Tremblant (4), Long Beach (3), Road America (3) Portland (2), Riverside (1), Cleveland (1), The Meadowlands (1) Caesars Palace (1) and Mid-Ohio (1).

A.J. Foyt was selected as the honoree for the oval championship in June by the vote of the fans.

MARIO ANDRETTI: "I was full of pride when I learned the road racing trophy would bear my name and that it was determined by a fan vote. It's the ultimate compliment years after I retired, to have the fans remember me this way. That's the really great thing about fans. They keep you humble and grounded. They let you know when you mess up and applaud your successes. And if you're fortunate along the way, you make a lot of friends for life. Throughout my career, there was a thrill in knowing and feeling that fans were connecting with me. They certainly knew that road racing was my passion since the 60s. I am honored to have this trophy in my name and cherish the opportunity that it gives me to have a lasting bond with this series. I am genuinely appreciative of all the fans who continue to acknowledge my part in racing history every day. In the future, I will certainly enjoy watching young drivers in pursuit of this trophy."

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KV Racing Technology driver E.J. Viso talked about his crash in IZOD IndyCar Series practice this morning.

E.J. VISO: (About accident during morning practice): "We made a big improvement with the car today. The car was running nicely. I got a little wide in Turn 1 and was going through the grass area. I believe the skid plate under the car broke and lifted the front part of the car in the air. I couldn't steer the car at all. At that point, I was basically a passenger. I just couldn't do anything. I put my hands up by my helmet and took the hit into the wall. I feel badly for the crew because our PDVSA car was very good this morning. Now we have to go to the backup car for qualifying."

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IZOD IndyCar Series driver Raphael Matos is featured in a story in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine about how soccer shaped the sports careers of various world-class athletes. Other athletes featured in the story include Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, who played collegiately at nearby Syracuse University.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Will Power earned his series-leading fifth Peak Performance Pole Award this season. He also qualified first on road-street courses at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach, and on an oval at Iowa.

* Team Penske has started from the pole position in all six IZOD IndyCar Series races at Watkins Glen International (Helio Castroneves in 2005, 2006, 2007, Ryan Briscoe in 2008, 2009, Will Power in 2010). The team has not won this event.

* Team Penske extended its series record of eight consecutive earned poles. It includes poles won by all three drivers (Will Power - 5, Briscoe - 2, Castroneves - 1) and poles at all types of tracks (road courses, street circuits, short oval, 1.5-mile oval and superspeedway).

* Will Power has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six in all nine road-street course starts he has made for 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 and Watkins Glen.

* Team Penske swept the front row in Peak Performance Pole Qualifying for the first time this season. Helio Castroneves and Will Power started 1-2, respectively, at Indianapolis, where each starting row is comprised of three cars. The last team to sweep the front row at an IZOD IndyCar Series event was Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon first and second, respectively, at the 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The last time Team Penske swept the front row was August 2009 at Chicagoland Speedway, an oval circuit. Ryan Briscoe won the pole, with Castroneves second.

* Team Penske became the first team to sweep the earned the top three starting spots in an IZOD IndyCar Series race since July 2009, when Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves started 1-2-3, respectively, at Edmonton.

* Tony Kanaan failed to advance to the second round of Peak Performance Pole Qualifying on a road/street course for the first time since July 2009 at Edmonton. He had advanced to at least the second round at six consecutive road/street course events since Edmonton.

* This was the second time that rookie Takuma Sato has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six this season. He qualified sixth in April at Barber Motorsports Park. He qualified a season-best fifth today.

* Just .9503 of a second separated the six participants at the end of the Firestone Fast Six.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING/FIRESTONE FAST SIX QUOTES:

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, pole): "Yeah, it's awesome to have the Verizon car on pole again. We're certainly racking them up, but we've got to get the race win. It's such an advantage to get a win with the way the points are structured. We'll focus on tomorrow and see if we can get it done."

(About qualifying): "It was hard. I was on it. I haven't driven so hard, because I haven't had such an advantage here. In the practice sessions, I was a little worried. I was thinking, 'Man, it's going to be tough to get pole.' But we worked hard, and we got it all together."

(About Firestone tires): "The reds were so stuck. There was heaps of grip. Incredible."

(About race strategy): "We've got to make a decision on what tires to start. It's going to be a difficult decision, just looking at what happened to Ryan last year when he had a few people with reds on and he had blacks."

(About Penske pole streak): "It's fantastic. It just shows what this team's all about. It's a great team, a lot of teamwork."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): "It's a great effort for Team Penske, Tim Cindric and Will (Power) and Ryan (Briscoe). We all worked together, and here we are, 1-2-3. Certainly the competition is pushing us, but credit goes to my engineer Ron Ruzewski and the other ones, as well. Each one of us wants to win, but as Roger (Penske) says, in the end the team wins. Whoever is up there, it benefits the team."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, seventh): "The Target car wasn't too bad. The balance wasn't too bad, either, overall, but we struggled through The Boot section of the course. The cars and competition are so close, so it will be tough to win from our starting spot but not impossible, by any means."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co A.J. Foyt Racing, 17th): "I think the lack of practice this morning because of the fuel pump problem hurt us a little bit maybe, and any little bit you give up in this series means positions. I think we're one step behind because of that. Not only that, we didn't unload like we have been unloading this year. We unloaded with the car far from where it needed to be, and we made huge improvements from yesterday to today, but we needed that little bit of track time because we needed to learn so much. It was unfortunate but A.J. and ABC have started here out of the top 10 and made great races, I have started here out of - well, actually I have not started here out of the top 10 - but we can make good things happen no matter where we start."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon, 11th): "This qualifying result was a big improvement from some of the last races, so that's a great positive. I'm a little disappointed we didn't get to move on to the Fast 6, but again, it's good to have improved from some previous events. We have learned a lot this weekend. We'll just keep working to continue that improvement. Tomorrow's race will be long and physical. We'll take what we've learned and use it to hopefully produce a good result tomorrow."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, 13th): "We had a tough session. We have a good car, but we just made a poor choice during qualifying. I'm disappointed, but we'll be good tomorrow."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, 16th): "That was very frustrating. We had a car capable of moving on, and Milka (Duno) cost us the lap. It's very frustrating. Every point in this series is so valuable and qualifying on the road courses is key. That said, I know we've got a good car. I love this track, and I've won here before. And you can win from 16th. We're just going to have to be very creative tomorrow with how we go about it."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, eighth): "We were fighting too much understeer today to be as quick as we needed to make the Firestone Fast Six. I was definitely disappointed because the Venom car showed signs of good pace, but we went the wrong way and messed it up. I'm still optimistic about the race. We basically qualified our 'race car,' and it was very easy to drive. I think that's a good sign."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, 21st): "I was feeling really confident going into qualifying this afternoon, but I just didn't have the speed I needed to get the GoDaddy car out of the first group. The field gets more and more competitive, and when you're just a tad off the pace, it can end up costing you more than ever. We'll try to make our way up through the field and hopefully have a strong result come tomorrow."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, 14th) "After the yellow flag, I went back out on red tires. Then I was stuck behind Milka, and it was the second timed lap on the tires, which is the best lap over the life of the tire. It ended up costing us our second and third timed laps. For sure, there was more in the Formula Dream/Panasonic car because even on the last lap, which was a 1:31.1, there was still some left on the table; at least two or three-tenths of a second, which would have been good enough to get us to the next group of qualifying. Starting 14th isn't good, but we have two sets of new red Firestone alternate tires that others don't, so at least that is good for strategy."

MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology, ninth): "Overall, it was a good qualifying. I think that the #32 KV Racing Technology car had very good balance. A couple of times I was in the top six, but the times were so close. I am happy with today, and tomorrow we will spend warm-up on race setup and then hopefully have a good race."

E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT, did not participate, will start 25th): "I am very disappointed that I couldn't qualify today. In practice, I was pushing hard and went wide at Turn 1. When I rejoined the track, I took a bump, which broke the skid pad and bent under the car. This caused my front tires to lift, and I lost steering control. It's a shame because the car was fast. However, it's a long race, and anything can happen. I am grateful to be here and to be able to get back in the car for tomorrow."

ADAM CARROLL (No. 27 Team Boost Mobile, 10th): "I'm much happier after the first practice. It's the usual scenario: a great track, new circuit for me, traffic and trying to push at the end. The track is getting better, and the car is getting better. It helps to speak with the guys with experience and get their point of view, as well. It's all coming together, so we're getting there. I'm looking forward to my first race with Andretti Autosport and Team Boost Mobile tomorrow."

PAUL TRACY (No. 24 Honda Indy Toronto/DRR): "We made huge improvements with the DRR/Honda Indy Toronto/Motegi Wheels car. I'm pretty happy. Last practice session we were P20, and I wasn't feeling that great about it. Yves, my engineer, and I made big a jump in qualifying, and we were able to advance into the fast 12. We wanted to improve on that, but we basically went a little bit quicker but not enough to go eighth, ninth or 10th, and we ended up 12th. But we are pretty happy with that. Obviously, we would've liked to be a little further up, but if we could get a top-10 result tomorrow, we will be happy with that."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, 19th): "This type of result isn't what we had hoped for today. It's not good, but the positive is that we made improvements from yesterday and this morning, and the team found some things that made more sense around this track. We feel the pain of not having tested here due to the rain because what we found late this morning we would have had coming in to the race weekend if we had gotten our test day completed. Now we just have to regroup and make the same type of change on the car for tomorrow now that we know where we need to be and what the car likes on this track. So if we have a good car for the race, the rest won't matter. We'll have to go out and have good strategy, fight to move up front and have a good result."

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, 20th): "We've been quick and competitive all weekend in the National Guard Panther Racing car, and we could tell something wasn't quite right during our qualification run. Once the Panther boys got back to the garage, they found a problem in the steering that was causing the car to scrub and obviously run slower. It's the precision and dedication on their part that helped discover the problem so quickly, and now we can focus on moving up and having a great race tomorrow."

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IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE START TIRE SELECTION:

* Primary (black): #12 Power, #3 Castroneves, #6 Briscoe, #26 Andretti, #27 Carroll, #2 Matos, #77 Tagliani, #4 Wheldon, #7 Patrick, #19 Lloyd, #8 Viso.

* Alternate (red): #10 Franchitti, #5 Sato, #22 Wilson, #9 Dixon, #32 Moraes, #24 Tracy, #11 Kanaan, #06 Mutoh, #78 de Silvestro, #37 Hunter-Reay, #14 Meira, #34 Romancini, #36 Baguette, #18 Duno.

IZOD IndyCar Series rules mandate the use of the alternate "red" tires for at least two green-flag laps during road/street course races.

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
10:15-10:45 a.m. IZOD IndyCar Series warm-up
2:30 p.m. IZOD IndyCar Series pre-race
3:30 p.m. Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen IZOD IndyCar Series race (60 laps, live on ABC)

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The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues July 4 with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning 100 on July 4 at the Watkins Glen International.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Takuma Sato , Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Dan Gurney , Mario Andretti , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Will Power , A.J. Foyt , Mark Donohue
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , FAZZT Race Team