IPS: St. Louis: Friday notebook

Erwin Wins Gateway 100 Pole MADISON, Ill., Friday, Aug. 8, 2003 -- Brandon Erwin won the pole Aug. 8 for the Gateway 100 at Gateway International Raceway. Erwin turned a lap of 29.5447 seconds, 152.312 mph in his No. 99 Casino Queen/Natural ...

Erwin Wins Gateway 100 Pole

MADISON, Ill., Friday, Aug. 8, 2003 -- Brandon Erwin won the pole Aug. 8 for the Gateway 100 at Gateway International Raceway. Erwin turned a lap of 29.5447 seconds, 152.312 mph in his No. 99 Casino Queen/Natural Golf Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

GATEWAY 100 POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

This is Brandon Erwin's first career pole. His previous best start was second earlier this year at Phoenix and Nashville.

This is the first pole for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Infiniti Pro Series. The team won an IndyCar Series pole in 2001 at Richmond with Jaques Lazier.

Tom Wood qualified a career-best second. His previous best qualifying effort was third in 2003 at Phoenix and in 2002 at Chicagoland.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Brandon Erwin and Tom Wood qualified for the front row. It marks the first time in series history that teammates have swept the front row.

Jeff Simmons qualified third and has now set an Infiniti Pro Series record by qualifying in the top five eight times.

GATEWAY 100 POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

MOSES SMITH (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It is great to be out here with the Kenn Hardley Racing team. It all came together pretty late, so we didn' t have any testing prior to this event. Basically we are using this weekend to get up to speed, get a feel for the car and start working with the guys on the team. The guys have been awesome as far as helping me along. The car feels awesome. I need to get a little more confidence in the car, but the car is there. I just need to work up the speed. Every lap it gets a little more comfortable."

TOM WOOD (No. 9 Trailblazer Drilling/Savanna Energy Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We stepped it up. That's all the car had in it. Brandon (Erwin) had a little more; He's been running faster than me today. We've been running different setups. I felt that the car could go fast, and I wasn't pushing the car as hard as I could have. We've been working on race setups, and I felt like we'd have a pretty fast car. I'm happy for Sam (Schmidt) in that we have the front row. He's given us great cars What more can you ask for?"

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I was pretty good through Turns 1 and 2, but got a little loose in Turns 3 and 4. On the first lap, I fought it all the way through and took it easier on the second one. I've been sick all week with a virus or something and just feel really dehydrated. The second row is a good place to start, and we'll be alright."

BRANDON ERWIN (No. 99 Casino Queen/Natural Golf Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I can't say enough for the Sam Schmidt team, for Casino Queen for helping us out this week and Natural Golf for staying with us so far this year. We had that bad accident in Michigan, and I just had to kind of dig deep. I knew coming here we were going to be fast. We tested fast here, but I never thought I could have run a lap like that. I am happy for Sam (Schmidt). I am happy for the team, getting on the front row. I look forward to tomorrow. I really need a win. I hope I can be patient, run the 100 miles and come in first."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We went the same speed we did in the afternoon practice. There seemed to be a lot of people who found quite a chunk of time in qualifying. The car felt good, but we haven't had a lot of time around here. You don't want to make many changes going into qualifying unless you are sure about it. It will be a tough race, but we have a good car, and that's the important thing."

PAUL DANA (No. 33 Ethanol/St. Louis Cardinals/BSR Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It's a new team and a totally new car for me, working with the Brian Stewart crew. It's been really bizarre going to the most difficult track on the circuit with a totally new car and a totally different setup philosophy from what I started the season with. I didn't have any expectations at all. I just went into it with an open mind, and it was a real quick day with two practice sessions and qualifying. At the end of the second practice session, we were making big gains and were sniffing around the top five, which is perfect. We just didn't get it done in qualifying."

SAM SCHMIDT (Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports):

"That is about as sweet as it gets. I'll just be happier if they are 1-2 tomorrow. This is even more awesome being in St. Louis. I did my therapy here (at Barnes-Jewish Hospital) for six months. I have very close ties to the doctors. We are going to have about 100 patients and their families here tomorrow cheering these guys on."

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE: 8 a.m. IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series garages open

10:30-10:45 Infiniti Pro Series final practice
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:30-3 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
3:45 p.m. Gateway 100 (80 laps/100 miles) ESPN2 (2 p.m., 8/15)
5:15 p.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying
6:30 p.m. Autograph session (garage area)

-irl-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Brandon Erwin , Sam Schmidt , Tom Wood , Jeff Simmons , Jaques Lazier