IPS: A.J. Foyt IV leads the Chicagoland field

A. J. Foyt IV heads the grid for the Infiniti Pro Series 100 after claiming pole on the final qualifying run of the day. Arie Luyendyk Jr. placed second after holding fast time for most of the session. Tom Wood lies third with championship ...

A. J. Foyt IV heads the grid for the Infiniti Pro Series 100 after claiming pole on the final qualifying run of the day. Arie Luyendyk Jr. placed second after holding fast time for most of the session. Tom Wood lies third with championship contenders Cory Witherill sixth and Ed Carpenter eighth. The qualifying grid reflects the highly competitive nature of this series. Drivers moved both backward and forward from their practice positions. Arie Luyendyk Jr. gained eight positions and Gary Peterson six.

AJ Foyt IV was the pre-session favorite for the pole position. Foyt claimed pole at the season's two earlier 1.5 mile tracks and was fastest in Friday practice.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. was pleasantly surprised by his grid position after turning mid-pack times during practice. "Our engine was overheating in practice and we were down on speed. We were given another engine before qualifying. The engine made the difference."

Foyt and Luyendyk were the only drivers to break out of the 175 mph range during qualifying in the 90 degree heat. The warmer temperatures and late afternoon time slot resulted in speeds several miles per hour slower than in Friday and Saturday morning practice. Aaron Fike explained,"we lost a little of our speed from morning practice due to the heat and the change in track conditions."

The teams have been assigned a new aerodynamics package for this event. They have more downforce and are able to complete laps on this d shaped track without lifting off the throttle. "We have a new wing angle for this race. With the wing angle and the gurney flaps we'll be punching a big hole in the air. Drafting will be really important," according to Luyendyk.

Several of the drivers farther back in the grid have overcome poor starting positions earlier in the season.

Cory Witherill won at Nashville this year after starting fifth and moved from twelfth to third in the season opening race in Kansas. "I was flat out. We've got a good car for the race."

Driver Aaron Fike, ninth on the grid, also has experience driving up through the field. Fike moved from eleventh to third in Nashville.

The race is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 2:45 pm central time.

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Series INDYLIGHTS