IPS: Kansas: Friday notes, quotes

Medeiros Earns Pole in Qualifying Washout at Kansas KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 2, 2004 -- Thiago Medeiros earned the pole position for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Aventis Racing for Kids 100 by posting the fastest speed during practice...

Medeiros Earns Pole in Qualifying Washout at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 2, 2004 -- Thiago Medeiros earned the pole position for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Aventis Racing for Kids 100 by posting the fastest speed during practice July 2 at Kansas Speedway.

Medeiros, the series points leader, recorded a lap at 28.9307 seconds, 189.142 mph in the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone to claim his third consecutive pole, breaking the record Medeiros shared with 2002 Series champion A.J. Foyt IV.

"We had a good setup to start the session," Medeiros said. "We just played a little bit with the car, made a little change. I was really comfortable in the draft and by myself. The car was feeling really good. I'm happy with the pole and confident for tomorrow."

The starting field was determined based on practice speeds after qualifying was cancelled due to rain. It was the first time qualifying has been cancelled in the three-year history of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

Rookie Leonardo Maia will start second after posting a lap at 29.0250 seconds, 188.527 mph, while series veteran Rolando Quintanilla, making his Kansas Speedway debut, will start third with a lap at 29.0818 seconds, 188.159 seconds.

Al Unser, son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., qualified sixth for his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series race.

In other Indy Racing League news, Patrick Racing announced that Jeff Simmons would replace the recently retired Al Unser Jr. in the No. 20 Patrick Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

"I don't think I can replace a legend," Simmons said. "The legend will always live on. I'm just fortunate to have the chance to benefit from being able to work with him and learn from him. I'm really glad he's staying on. I want to establish myself. To get some help from Al is going to be great."

***

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at 12:45 p.m. (EDT) July 4 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network beginning at 12:30 p.m. (EDT). The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Aventis Racing for Kids 100 will take place at 5:45 p.m. (EDT) July 3 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) July 4 by ESPN2.

POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' fourth overall pole position, tying it with Panther Racing for second-most poles in Series history. A.J. Foyt Enterprises holds the record with seven pole positions.

* This is rookie Leonardo Maia's career-best qualifying position. His previous best was seventh at Phoenix this year.

*This is Rolando Quintanilla's career-best qualifying position. His previous best was fifth at Phoenix this year.

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

AL UNSER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We've begun to dial a little bit of the understeer out of the car. We're running right with the boys here. Basically, we ran by ourselves the whole session, so we didn't get any tow or any draft off of anybody. If we had qualifying, if the rain didn't come, we'd be right up there. That's what I was kind of setting up for. I wanted to really focus on my car setup as it was by myself, and then tomorrow, during warmup, work on how it's going to be behind people because that's how we're going to run during the race." (Do you have much experience with drafting on ovals?): "No, not much at all. The only drafting I would do was on a straightaway of a road course. I'm interested to see how it is. I kind of have a sense for it. We did get behind one guy out there, the 24 car, drafting right behind him, and it didn't bother me, so to speak. I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow." (Are you getting tips from other drivers?): "Of course. I've got a wealth of information around here. I know a lot of the drivers that are in the IRL. I know a couple of the people that are here running in the (Menards Infiniti Pro Series). I've got my father and my grandfather and Ricky Racer (Rick Mears) and everybody that can give me information. We're getting some tips, especially from Ed Carpenter. He was really good because he ran the series last year, moved up nicely and is doing very well." (What will you be happy to leave Kansas with?): "A trophy."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "The track didn't have any rubber on it because it had rained all day. We had a good setup to start the session. We just played a little bit with the car, a little change. I was really comfortable in the draft and by myself. The car was feeling really good. I'm happy with the pole and confident for tomorrow. The Sam Schmidt team did a good job. (The series) has improved the engines for this year, and we've been quicker everywhere we've gone. All the teams have found more speed in the cars. We've been developing the cars for a long time, since we were here a year ago, but the teams know the cars real well. There were no miracles, everyone's found that extra speed."

LEONARDO MAIA (No. 33 Skip Barber Racing School Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "This is awesome. The engineer, Doug (Zister), gave me a great car. All I had to do was drive it around flat out. To be honest, we could do the same times running in traffic -- I think I had my fastest lap in traffic -- but we're less than half a tenth (of a second) off that time running by myself. I think, had the yellow not come out on that lap, I was on the back straight when it came out, I think I could have gone even faster. I'm real, real optimistic for the race. There's just one tiny thing we need to do to the car. I think we have the car to beat this weekend."

ROLANDO QUINTANILLA (No. 10 Roquin Motorsports Dallara/Infinti/ Firestone): "It's good. We're happy with it. We were working a bit more on our race setup. The weather was against us. We're fighting against Mother Nature. The team is working good. The car is here. We're still struggling to get to every race. I feel happy for the guys more than anything else that we can actually be here. If that's where we're going to start (third), then it makes me even more happy for the guys. We feel like we have a shot. We had an accident in Indianapolis, but we still left with our heads up high, because we showed what we can do as a team. This weekend, if things go as they went this practice session, because I felt real comfortable in the car, we should have a good race car for the race. I feel happy with it. It should be a fun race tomorrow."

-irl-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , A.J. Foyt IV , Rolando Quintanilla , Sam Schmidt , Rick Mears , Leonardo Maia , Skip Barber , Ed Carpenter , Al Unser , Thiago Medeiros
Teams Panther Racing