IPS: Chicagoland: Series Saturday qualifying report

LLOYD TAKES TOP SPOT FOR CHICAGOLAND 100 JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 -- Alex Lloyd claimed his fifth pole of the season, earning the SWE Pole Award for the Chicagoland 100. Lloyd, who wrapped up the series title at Infineon Raceway...

LLOYD TAKES TOP SPOT FOR CHICAGOLAND 100

JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 -- Alex Lloyd claimed his fifth pole of the season, earning the SWE Pole Award for the Chicagoland 100.

Lloyd, who wrapped up the series title at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 25, recorded a lap of 28.7799 seconds, 190.133 mph to earn his 12th front-row start this season. Wade Cunningham (189.916 mph) was second.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

The No. 12 Playa Del Racing car driven by Sean Guthrie sports a pink motif for the first time this weekend. Guthrie recently partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization, to support their October fundraising program, Passionately Pink for the Cure, which is a program where participants wear pink for a day in October and donate at least $5 to Komen for the Cure.

SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 12 Playa Del Racing): "Breast cancer is something that has greatly affected my family as both my mom and aunt are two-time survivors. I'm an advocate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure because the organization is committed to raising awareness for breast cancer as well as raising funds to find the cures for a disease that has claimed so many lives."

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SWE Racing owner Steve Eppard headed home for Labor Day weekend, but it was a working weekend. The Quad Cities, Iowa native returned for the Rock Island Grand Prix, promising an Indy Pro Series test to the driver with the best combined finish from the King of the Streets and the ICC races.

Indiana's Kyle Wiegand won the right to test after finishing second in the King of the Streets event and driving from last to first in the ICC event.

STEVE EPPARD (Owner, SWE Racing): "I've been watching Kyle for a couple of years. He showed that he can run from the back to the front. I'm looking forward to testing him in the Indy Pro Series car."

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Sunday's Indy Pro Series season finale is the last chance for fans to make donations to the Best Friends Animal Society through the racinglapsforbestfriends.com Web site based on the number of laps Andrew Prendeville completes in his races.

Over the last 18 months Best Friends, the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States, has handled 22 cases specific to Chicago. These have included providing tips on how to successfully add a new cat to a cat household, information on how to find a home for a dog, and how to change the behavior of a biting cat. Best Friends also recently sent a message to its members in the Chicago area to find a home for two cats.

The most significant program that Best Friends is involved with in the area is working with Tio Hardiman, the organizer of the Chicago Campaign to Stop Animal Fighting. He is attempting to stop dog fighting in inner-city neighborhoods by educating youth and dog owners in the area. This is one of many grassroots programs that Best Friends supports and promotes through its extensive network.

The Best Friends network also helped promote the tenth annual Angels with Tails event organized by PAWS in Chicago. This is a premier adoption event showcasing homeless dogs and cats. Animals are placed in storefront windows along Michigan Avenue and Oak Street for viewing. Many of the trendy shops in that area participate each year.

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The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will host several guests as a part of its "Day at the Races" program today at noon in the Club Patron Hospitality Tent. Guests include spinal cord injured patients and patients with other neurological disorders from the Chicagoland area.

Visitors to the event will learn through the program what the work of the foundation seeks to do and what resources may be available to them. For many of the visitors, not only will it be their first time at a race track, but more importantly, their first time out of the hospital.

The event, sponsored by the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, Chicagoland Speedway, United Medical Providers, Quickie and Patron Spirits and Racing, will include a catered lunch courtesy of Patron Racing Hospitality, speeches from the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, and founder, Sam Schmidt, and a tour of the paddock area of the Chicagoland Speedway. Also, Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers Alex Lloyd, Ryan Justice, Logan Gomez, and Leilani Munter will be in the tent signing autographs.

SAM SCHMIDT (Founder, Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation/Indy Pro Series team owner): "This program has been getting bigger and better every time we've done it. We're grateful to Andretti Green Racing for all the help and support they've offered us this year, and we're excited about the opportunity to spend time in the Patron Racing tent this weekend. I know they'll do a great job in providing a fun, hospitable atmosphere for our guests this weekend."

The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation was founded in 2000 while Schmidt was still in the rehabilitation hospital. Its mission is to raise funds to support spinal cord injury research which also benefits stroke victims, people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, ALS, and other neurological disorders. The foundation is active in advocacy efforts benefiting the disabled and funds organizations throughout the world that directly benefit people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. More information can be found at www.samschmidt.org.

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At a press conference earlier today, Playa Del Racing announced a multi-year contract with Ethos forEARTH Corporation and Al Unser III for an Indy Pro Series program for 2007.

Ethos forEARTH will become the primary sponsor of the Playa Del Racing Indy Pro Series car No.21 driven by Al Unser III, son of the two-time Indianapolis 500 Champion Al Unser Jr.

Ethos forEARTH Corporation is a network marketing company that owns the exclusive international marketing rights for Ethos Fuel Refomulator, a non-petroleum based fuel additive and engine lubricant that reduces emissions, increases gas mileage, and extends vehicles engine life and performance.

GARY SALLEE (Co-owner of PDR): "Signing Al Unser III to a multi-year commitment means so much to the Playa Del Racing team. We are building a program at Playa Del Racing, and Al (Unser III) is a cornerston in the foundation of our building process."

DAN ATKINSON (CEO of Ethos forEARTH): "Our marketing company currently has thousands of distributors in 16 countries from around the world that proudly represent our product. Distributors are added every day, and each of these independent distributors will be contributing toward the sponsorship of PDR, and Al Unser III.

MIGUEL GALLIMORE (president of Ethos forEARTH): "The Unser family is synonymous with motorsports and they will work closely with Ethos forEARTH to help promote our innovative product. I have been working with network marketing for many years and a deal like this has gone unprecedented. Our goal is to give our distributors the best possible resources to go forward in making their businesses profitable. Having the credibility of the Unser family will absolutely help our people in moving their product."

AL UNSER III (Driver, Playa Del Racing): "Playa Del Racing is my home now. This team has taken me in and I can't even begin to tell you how much that means to me. I've been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I look forward to building my skills in the Indy Pro Series and then taking my career to the next step with this team. ForEARTH is going to be a major part of my career now, and I can't wait to get started working with them."

CHICAGOLAND 100 POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Alex Lloyd's fifth SWE Pole Award this season and the fifth pole position of his Indy Pro Series career. His last pole came at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in July.

* Lloyd qualified on the front row for the 12th time this season. He qualified on the front row for each Indy Pro Series event where qualifications were held.

* Wade Cunningham qualified second. It is his fourth front-row start this season.

* Ben Petter qualified a career-best third. His previous best was sixth at Kentucky in 2005.

CHICAGOLAND 100 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, SWE Pole Award winner): "I'm very happy with today. It's going to be a very close race. It's one of those races where no one is going to run away. It's going to be a big pack. I'm happy with the car we've got. It's like playing a chess game, and then hopefully put yourself in the right place. A little bit of luck is involved in winning a race like this, but it's going to be a great race. I'm sure we'll put on a great one for the fans." (About qualifying on the front row for every race where qualifying took place): "That's something that definitely means a lot to myself and the team. When you look at that, that's a pretty good record, especially when you look at all the different kind of tracks we race on. On every weekend, no matter what, we've been right there either the quickest or right there as second quickest. That really shows the performance we've had all year."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, qualified second.): "We tried some qualifying simulations in the second practice and we ran slower than we did with our race setup. We didn't really know what we were doing today so we just sort of put it back to where it was and sent it out to qualify. So we weren't really sure what was going to happen, but we're second at the moment. I'm sure the other Sam Schmidt car is going to be quick, so I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion yet. But we have a reasonable time -- we're close to Alex (Lloyd), but not quicker than him. They've had the dominate car all season and we'll have to work harder to catch them."

JIMMY KITE (No. 43 SWE Racing/SWE Race Car Parts, qualified 14th): "It's been a lot of learning. It's a brand new car and obviously we've got a rookie driver in it. It's a lot of fun. It seems like every time we go out we learn something a little new. Running in the packs I know is a lot of fun. It's fun watching too. It's going to be fun to be out there in the middle of it. There's a rookie group of us. But if (team owner) Steve (Eppard) decides to bring me back next year, we'll know when we come back what to do differently. But we'll make some changes. It looks like we have a couple cars to pass tomorrow, but it makes it a fun day."

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The next Indy Pro Series event is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway. ESPN2's coverage of the race will be televised at 5 p.m. on Sept. 13.

-credit: irl

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