IPS: Unser steals the pole at Michigan

The youngest Unser to strap into an open-wheel car grabbed his first Infiniti Pro Series pole today on one of the tracks he grew up at: Al Unser III won his first career pole in the series today at Michigan International Speedway.

"I'm having lots of fun racing here and everywhere we go with the IRL series," said the pole winner.

Al Unser.
Photo by Bob Kozel - KOZ DPI.
Amazing for the kid in only his fourth IPS race. Unser had to earn this pole by knocking off the son of one of his dad's rivals and a young man he himself has raced against since the two took to the track. Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Had the fastest time until Unser came along.

"We had been working up on this qualifying routine," commented Unser. "I'm not used to this two-lap deal to see what you've got, but we're getting better at it. My team, the Western Union Speed Team, is totally behind me. I thank them so much because they definitely put me on the pole for this one."

Unser's fast lap was clocked at 37.283 seconds on the two-mile oval superspeedway for an average lap speed of 193.118 miles per hour. Luyendyk's fast lap at 37.293 was just 0.010-seconds off the pole.

"I've always had luck here," said Luyendyk. "We've got a great setup on the car. It's seemed to work the last couple of years for qualifying. We're just concerned right now with the race. Qualifying is one thing, but hopefully, we have a good race car. We'll concentrate on that in the warmup, and hopefully, it sticks."

Thiago Medeiros will start third; just missing his sixth consecutive pole by 0.096-seconds. Medeiros holds the Indy Racing League consecutive pole record with five.

"I'm not disappointed, definitely not," said Medeiros. "This is a long race, and we're starting up front. It's going to be a long day, and there's going to be a lot of time to get in the lead. We'll have a good run, no matter where we start. I'm happy about where we're at for tomorrow."

Last week's winner at Milwaukee, Paul Dana will start tomorrow's race from fourth, exactly one second off of Unser's time.