Birmingham: Series Friday report

Team PBIR rookie Niall Quinn made a strong first impression by topping the combined practice sessions in Firestone Indy Lights. The Irishman, who recorded a lap of 1:16.8500 in the afternoon session, was followed by series veterans Charlie Kimball...

Team PBIR rookie Niall Quinn made a strong first impression by topping the combined practice sessions in Firestone Indy Lights. The Irishman, who recorded a lap of 1:16.8500 in the afternoon session, was followed by series veterans Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe.

***

Walker Racing announced that British driver Dan Clarke will drive the team's Firestone Indy Lights #40 entry this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

DAN CLARKE (No. 40 Wasteco Deans Knight Special): " I couldn't be more thrilled to join Walker Racing and to be back racing in the USA. Since 2006 I've focused my career on the U.S. open wheel scene. After unification I feel my career is back on track and competing this year in the Firestone Indy Lights Series is a great place for me to do it."

DERRICK WALKER (owner, Walker Racing): "I have always been impressed with Dan's speed when we raced against him in the Champ Car years. Back in those days the 'Road to Indy' was not as clear as it is now, so we share the same objective in racing in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, our aim is the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500."

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

NIALL QUINN (No. 37 Team PBIR, fastest of the day): "It feels pretty good. I came here with no testing and never been in the car before. It was pretty difficult, but I got comfortable on old tires and we tried new tires to simulate a qualifying run and I'm pretty happy. P1 is a good place to be and I want to stay there now. (On being on pace right away): "It was a surprise. I've race against a lot of these guys in junior formulas and I knew how competitive it would be. The team did a great job. We're low on staff this weekend, but to do this shows how good they are."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, second-fastest): "Today was really good. We were quickest this morning, and this afternoon we had a problem with track grip a bit. We ended up P4 in this session, though I know some of the other guys changed to new tires. As hot as it is and the way the track takes the grip out of the tires, that's a big advantage. We're looking forward to qualifying tomorrow morning. The #26 Levemir FlexPlen car has been solid all day, and I think that'll make the difference when it comes to race time on Sunday."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 2 Xtreme Coil Drilling - TMR, third-fastest): "The track is actually a little bit difficult right now. It is a lot hotter here than when we tested back in February since Grand Am hadn't been running then. It took us a little bit of time to lay down some Firestone rubber, but we are getting there and the track is coming to us. Second is obviously not a bad place to be in and the guy who was at the top ended up putting on new tires at the end. It's a small victory and I think we have a great car for qualifying tomorrow. Let's just hope I can do one position better."

***

Charlie Kimball spent time this week at Long Beach participating in Toyota Celebrity Race Media Day at the Long Beach street circuit. Among the celebrities he met were Keanu Reeves, Tony Hawk and Zachary Levi, star of one Kimball's favorite shows "Chuck."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen): "I really enjoyed being in Long Beach for the media day. Getting to drive the track in the pace cars was a lot of fun especially because all of my passengers were enjoying it so much. Also, getting to see some big name celebrities in MY natural environment was really neat! I can't wait to get back there for the race as I know the #26 Levemir® FlexPen® car will be fast- faster than the pace car and the pro celebrity cars for sure!"

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE (all times local):

8:15-9 a.m.

Firestone Indy Lights qualifying

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Autograph Session

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues April 11 with the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. 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 Grand Prix of Alabama April 11 at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will air live on indycar.com.

-source: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Charlie Kimball , James Hinchcliffe , Niall Quinn , Keanu Reeves , Dan Clarke