Iowa: Series qualifying notes

NEWTON, IOWA, Friday, June 20, 2008 - Arie Luyendyk Jr. won the SWE Pole for the Jeld-Wen 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. It was the fourth career pole for Luyendyk, who earned two poles in 2003 and one in 2002. Dillon Battistini, who trails ...

NEWTON, IOWA, Friday, June 20, 2008 - Arie Luyendyk Jr. won the SWE Pole for the Jeld-Wen 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. It was the fourth career pole for Luyendyk, who earned two poles in 2003 and one in 2002.

Dillon Battistini, who trails series points leader Richard Antinucci by one point, will start second. Jeff Simmons qualified third, Bobby Wilson fourth and Brent Sherman fifth. Antinucci qualified 14th.

***

With the most laps of any Firestone Indy Lights race in 2008, the Jeld-Wen 100 could be the most important event of the year for Andrew Prendeville's Racing Laps for Best Friends program.

In the program, fans make online donations to Best Friends, a not-for-profit animal welfare group, based on the number of laps that Prendeville completes in his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 car. All donations made to the Best Friends Animal Society through racinglapsforbestfriends.com for Saturday's race will go directly to help Best Friends' flood relief efforts in Iowa.

According to Vicki Kilmer-Rinker, Best Friends' cause marketing manager, members of Best Friends' Rapid Response team experienced in swift-water rescues have been deployed to Oakville, Iowa. Other Best Friends volunteers are expected to be involved trying to reunite people with their lost pets, engaging in search-and-rescue of companion animals and other relief efforts.

***

Alliance Motorsports has formed a partnership with the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross to help residents of Iowa affected by the recent flooding.

Team members from Alliance Motorsports are collecting donations for the Red Cross and will carry the organizations' logo on its No. 24 Firestone Indy Lights car throughout the race weekend. All money raised will go directly to the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross.

CHRIS WILLIAMS (Co-owner, Alliance Motorsports): "This is an opportunity to help those that have lost everything. It is our goal to reach out to all of the teams that are competing this weekend for support, and hope that as a group, we can make a difference."

***

SWE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is the fourth career pole for Arie Luyendyk Jr. He previously won poles at Michigan in 2002 and 2003 and at Texas in 2003. His best finish when starting from the pole was second at Michigan in 2002.

* This is the third pole of the season for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. Raphael Matos won the pole at Homestead-Miami and St. Petersburg.

* Dillon Battistini qualified second, his third front row start of the season. He won the pole at Indianapolis and started second at Homestead-Miami.

* Jeff Simmons will start third, his second consecutive top-three start. He also qualified third at Milwaukee.

* Bobby Wilson will start fourth, his second consecutive top-four start. He started second at Milwaukee.

* Franck Perera qualified ninth in his Firestone Indy Lights debut.

***

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., qualified first): "Everyone at AFS/AGR did an awesome job today. We were the quickest pretty much all day and it just shows that the preparation there is amazing. I can't thank them enough. I'm really happy that we got a pole for our new sponsor Targus. I'm really excited for the race tomorrow."

(About the delay): "I was really scared that we were going to get rained out and start on points. I knew we had a car good enough for pole. (Dillon) Battistini was close, but I'm glad we got the pole."

(How stressful was it to watch almost everyone qualify?): "I knew who the fast guys were. I was looking for (Brent) Sherman and you can never count out those Sam Schmidt guys, and I knew they were last. I'm just really excited."

(Can you win here?): "I didn't race here last year, but it looked like a great track. I've been fast here from the word go, so hopefully it can stay a lucky track for me. Hopefully we can stay out front. We'll work really hard on the setup tonight and cross our fingers."

DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 AlexP, points leader, second): "We ran two good clean laps. They weren't perfect. I made a small mistake in Turn 1 on the first lap, but it wasn't enough to cost me the pole. It is great to be on the front row. Hopefully we'll stay in that position at the start, and pass Arie (Luyendyk Jr.) during the race. The car is really good. It felt good in traffic today. We are in a strong position for the race. We have a good chance of winning. It is a long race and anything can happen. We just need to make it to the finish, hopefully ahead of my championship contenders."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, third): "I'm happy with what the team gave me. I could have been a little quicker. I don't think we could have got Arie (Luyendyk), but we could have gotten (Dillon) Battistini. We had made some changes and I was trying to figure out what we had. We may have left a little bit out there."

BRENT SHERMAN (No. 16 National Guard Delphi, fifth): "After we tested here last week, I was a little nervous because the car wasn't great, but when we ran today, we started off fast without much drafting. I'm a little greedy and thought that I could have done better, but I'll take fifth. The key to the race will be to get out front early. We weren't that great in traffic today. We've got to move toward the front quickly and stay out of the traffic and the junk. I am going to race guys hard and hopefully move up in the race."

***

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
7:30 a.m. Garages open
3:45 p.m. Jeld-Wen 100 pre-race
4:15 p.m. Jeld-Wen 100 (115 laps/100 miles)

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 22 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. 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 Jeld-Wen 100 on June 21 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) June 26 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.

-credit: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Brent Sherman , Jeff Simmons , Bobby Wilson , Dillon Battistini , Franck Perera , Arie Luyendyk Jr.