Kentucky: Series Friday notes

HILDEBRAND EARNS POLE AFTER QUALIFICATIONS CANCELLED SPARTA, Ky. (Friday, July 31, 2009) - Firestone Indy Lights points leader J.R. Hildebrand will start from the pole in the Kentucky 100, the Firestone Indy Lights' 100th race under the Indy ...

HILDEBRAND EARNS POLE AFTER QUALIFICATIONS CANCELLED

SPARTA, Ky. (Friday, July 31, 2009) - Firestone Indy Lights points leader J.R. Hildebrand will start from the pole in the Kentucky 100, the Firestone Indy Lights' 100th race under the Indy Racing League banner. Sebastian Saavedra will join his teammate on the front row.

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DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

Firestone Indy Lights driver Pippa Mann is not at Kentucky Speedway today. According to Dr. Michael Olinger, Mann was transported to St. Elizabeth South Hospital this morning for medical evaluation. Panther Racing has asked Arie Luyendyk Jr. to stand by in case Mann can't race this weekend.

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P.J. Chesson, who had three victories and 10 top-10 finishes in 12 Firestone Indy Lights races in 2004-05, is the spotter for the No. 43 MonaVie car driven by Tomas Scheckter in the Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy's.

"He called me and asked what I was doing and if I wanted to help him out on the race weekends on the ovals, and I said, 'Sure,'" Chesson said. "So here we are. It's really good to be back; a lot of familiar faces. It gives a chance to put people in headlocks and shake people up a little bit."

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Firestone Indy Lights drivers James Hinchcliffe (Canada) and Wade Cunningham (New Zealand) may not hail from the United States, but they took advantage of the delay to have a friendly game of catch with a NERF football in the paddock. Their Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Ana Beatriz also got into the act, kicking a ball out of the hold of Hinchcliffe towards Cunningham.

"In Brazil, that is how we use a football," she told them.

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KENTUCKY 100 QUALIFYING QUOTES:

J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, polesitter): "We've definitely been sitting around for a long time today. I was thinking maybe the drivers should lineup and we could have a footrace to see who could get the pole. This was a little bit easier than that. We came out and tested here at the beginning of the season, and they've ground the track down since then, so it will be a little different. But we had a good test. Once we get out on track, we figure out how good our car is. It's been a tough day. A lot of drivers have been sitting around in their suits all day because it was so touch and go. Hopefully we can get some practice because getting ready for the race tomorrow is the most important thing."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, starts second): "Feels great (to start on front row), still a long way from what I want. We still have some races to go where we can pull into a (points) battle with AGR. I'm very positive about what can happen at this oval, looking forward to what's going on toward the end of the season." (How tough is it to come here in the morning and not do anything?): "It's painful, at first to think of so many things we have to test and when you cut each minute, it's really bad for us. You want to have the perfect car and we don't have the right amount of time to test all the things we want. I just want to drive, and if it's tonight I hope they give us the whole session

MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied, starts third) "Very tough, we've been here since 10 a.m. just waiting for confirmation on the moment we can go on the track. But I know the guys at the track are trying to do their best, to fix this problem. Let's hope we can (get on) the track and at least do a practice tonight." (Since you're third in points are you happy that at least you're starting up front?): "It's always good to start up front especially with the bad qualifying we had at the last race, but still, it will be important for everybody to have a practice session before the race. Even if we don't qualifying having the chance to practice is important for us."

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE:
11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Firestone Indy Lights practice - All Cars
2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Firestone Indy Lights practice - All Cars
4:30 p.m. - Kentucky 100 Pre-Race @5 p.m. - Kentucky 100 (67 laps/100 miles), Taped (VERSUS, 4 p.m., Aug.3)

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The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Kentucky 100, the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race under the Indy Racing League banner, on Aug. 1 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 3 by VERSUS.

-credit: irl

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