IPS: Watkins Glen I/II: Friday qualifying report

CUNNINGHAM ON PROVISIONAL POLE FOR FIRST CORNING TWIN 100 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. Friday, July 6, 2007 -- Wade Cunningham earned the provisional pole for the first race of the Corning Twin 100s Indy Pro Series doubleheader at Watkins Glen, topping...

CUNNINGHAM ON PROVISIONAL POLE FOR FIRST CORNING TWIN 100

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. Friday, July 6, 2007 -- Wade Cunningham earned the provisional pole for the first race of the Corning Twin 100s Indy Pro Series doubleheader at Watkins Glen, topping the first of two 30 minute qualifying sessions.

Cunningham lapped the 3.4-miles road course in 1:36.7418, 125.406 mph, nearly three seconds faster than his 2005 event record. The second 30-minute qualifying session is scheduled for Saturday morning followed by the first of two 29-lap races.

Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, Indy Racing League director of medical services: Sean Guthrie has been cleared to participate in practice and qualifying today. Guthrie sustained a non-displaced fracture of his left foot in an accident at Iowa Speedway on June 23.

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Scott Mayer, who drove the No. 54 Mile High Motorsports car in the first Indy Pro Series practice session, aggravated a hairline fracture in his left hand and will not compete the remainder of the weekend. The team is working on finding a replacement driver for the Corning Twin 100s.

SCOTT MAYER: "I've got a hairline fracture in my left hand, and I can't drive. I thought I'd be able to do it, but I can't."

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This weekend's Indy Pro Series races, the Corning Twin 100s, will be broadcast live on espn360. ESPN360 is available free via a high-speed data connection on www.espn360.com. The video offered by ESPN360 is encoded at a high bit rate that enables a fast transmission for viewing high-quality video content.

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Alex Lloyd hadn't considered the significance, but a victory in the first of the Corning Twin 100s on July 7 (07-07-07) makes perfect sense.

Lloyd will be seeking his seventh victory of the season in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

"I'm not really a superstitious guy," the Indy Pro Series points leader said. "No real superstitions of wearing certain clothes or the same socks for racing. (But the date) is something I'm more into, and that sounds like a day that should give us some good luck."

On the IndyCar Series side, Danica Patrick will seek to place her No. 7 Team Motorola car high on the starting grid July 7 for the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix the next day.

"Who knows? The stars may be completely in line with it being 7/7/07 and I could end up on the pole," Patrick said. "I'm not really into the numerology thing, but I will definitely take the result if it works out that way."

Lloyd, however, changed his helmet design for the weekend, though he claims it was personal preference.

"I had run an old helmet of mine earlier in the year because of a sponsor," he said. "I didn't really like the design so I decided I would for this weekend put the one I prefer on."

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Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, Indy Racing League director of medical services: Richard Heistand, who was transported to Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in Elmira following an accident in Turn 8 in the Indy Pro Series practice session, has been diagnosed with a mild concussion and chest contusion. It is anticipated that he will be released later today. He will not be cleared to drive for at least seven days.

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CORNING 100 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., provisional pole sitter): "It's good to have a quick time today, just in case it rains tomorrow. With our (sticker) tires allocation, it was a bit of gamble. We had four sets of tires - two practice and two qualifying sets. There's a bit of strategy with conservation and we're not sure where the other teams did. We've used one set of (stickers) for qualifying and that puts us in a pretty good position for tomorrow."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified second): "We started off this morning struggling in the first practice. We really made huge improvements in the limited amount of track time we've had since then, which is a positive. We got everything we could out of the car. It wasn't enough for provisional pole, but we put a good lap together. Tomorrow, weather permitting, should be a quicker session. If we can make a few adjustments and see if we can find that missing time, then we've got a good shot at the pole. At the moment, Wade (Cunningham) seems to have a bit of an edge on us, so we'll see if we can close that down a bit."

DANIEL HERRINGTON (No. 44 SpeedWorks/SSM, qualified third): "Practice went pretty well. We were third quickest in practice. We tested here a few days ago, so I felt I had a pretty sense for the car. Our gears were apparently way off. We didn't find that out until late. So we switched them for qualifying and that made a world of difference. The track had rubbered up a lot from the IndyCar Series cars. They put down a lot of rubber so we could go down on our wings a bit to get some of our straight line speed back. It's really about putting a lap together. I was trying to stay out of lapped traffic. My fast one was one of my very last ones. I guess that's the way to do it.

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, qualified fourth): "Today was my learning day and I was busy getting used to the course. It is a pretty hard course so I drove carefully and just concentrated very hard on every lap. I wish there were less yellow during the sessions and I wanted to run little longer. Although I made couple mistakes during qualifying, the time is not too bad. I will just do my best not to make mistakes and set a better time for the second qualifying tomorrow."

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 12 Playa Del Racing, qualified fifth): "Overall, for the Playa Del Racing team, and me, it's been a pretty good day but we just lost a lot of practice time. I know this track well, but it's still a new team and they're new here. They gave me a good car right out of the box and I felt comfortable. I had about ten laps in both practices combined. That didn't set us up too well for qualifying. We have another qualifying tomorrow, so that's another thing we are keeping in the back of our heads. We're going to study tonight and see what we can come up with. I'm feeling pretty good out there. I was really surprised that I ended up fifth in qualifying, because the car felt really good. I was surprised at some of the lap times that some of these guys were pulling out. It's interesting and we've got our work cut out for us. If we're in the top three rows, I'm sure we can battle for the win and certainly the podium. We're just looking to better ourselves tomorrow and give ourselves a great shot for tomorrow's race. The track feels really good. They've smoothed out some sections. It feels better to me in Turn 5 and 6 I think. My timing was off a little in qualifying a little bit and I got caught up on my last two laps."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Scott Mayer , Alex Lloyd , Wade Cunningham , Sean Guthrie , Richard Heistand , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing