Faulkner wins pole at Texas Motor Speedway

FT. WORTH, Texas (April 27, 2001) - Ireland's Damien Faulkner blazed around the 1.5-mile oval of Texas Motor Speedway, Friday, April 27, to capture the pole position for Saturday's 67-lap third round of the 12-race 2001 Dayton Indy Lights...

FT. WORTH, Texas (April 27, 2001) - Ireland's Damien Faulkner blazed around the 1.5-mile oval of Texas Motor Speedway, Friday, April 27, to capture the pole position for Saturday's 67-lap third round of the 12-race 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship.

Faulkner set the official Indy Lights qualifying record at TMS with a time of 0:29.060 = 183.593 mph in his Dorricott Racing-prepared Lola. Bell, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., was literally only thousandths of a second off the pace in securing the outside pole in the DirecPC Lola at 0:29.066 = 183.555 mph.

"It's pretty cool having an all-Dorricott front row," said Bell. "We've worked hard to make our cars quick on the superspeedways and we've succeeded to this point. I would have loved to score a bonus point for the pole but this track is pretty much about leaving the pits with your head and foot down."

Dorricott Racing teammate Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., qualified eighth in the Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola at 0:29.385 = 181.562 mph.

Faulkner became the Republic of Ireland's first European motor racing champion in 19 years by capturing the 2000 European Formula Palmer Audi Championship. The 25-year-old Dublin resident dominated the EFPA's 20-race 2000 season behind six wins, seven poles, and 12 podium finishes. Faulkner has a remarkable finishing record that has seen him fail to finish only twice in 55 races over the last three years. However, his remarkable qualifying result at Texas Motor Speedway was most spectacular because this is the first time he has ever raced on an oval of any kind.

"I guess the only thing I've done to prepare for a really fast oval like this was when I once flew in the cockpit of an airplane," joked Faulkner during the post-qualifying press conference. "It was a little space-framed plane. That's as close as I've come to running this fast. On a serious note, it's a lot different. The constant left turn and the high banks combined with a set-up that feels like you've already hit the wall makes this a different sensation. Qualifying went well but I've got to keep my head down and prepare for the race. My obvious goal in coming to Texas is to win the race. Winning the pole is a good momentum builder even though I have my work cut out for me."

The 67-lap/100.50-mile Indy Lights race around Texas Motor Speedway's high-speed oval is scheduled to begin Saturday at 3:15 p.m. CT. It is the featured support event for the CART FedEx Championship Series Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, set to run on Sunday. Texas Motor Speedway is the only scheduled Saturday race of the year for Indy Lights.

ESPN2 will provide delayed telecast of round three of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship from Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, April 29, from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT). An encore telecast is scheduled for Monday, April 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PT).

-Dorricott Racing

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jon Fogarty , Damien Faulkner