Pippa Mann will start from the pole position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Fuzzys Ultra Premium Vodka 100. It was her second consecutive Indy Lights Series pole and her third this season. Just four weeks ago, Mann started on the pole at Kentucky and dominated the race by leading every lap, earning her first victory.
"I would really like tomorrow's race to be like Kentucky but I don't think it's going to happen," Mann said. "Here and Kentucky are two extremely different tracks. Tomorrow's race will be held in the heat of the day and the track will be slick."
Despite missing the Mid-Ohio race due to a broken hand, Mann's goal is to finish fifth in the championship. Currently seventh in points, Mann thinks a victory in tomorrow's season finale would secure her goal.
"So many things were going well, when I broke my hand," Mann said. "After missing the race at Mid-Ohio, the whole weekend started coming together. It hasn't been the pace, it hasn't been any one thing, the whole weekend just started coming together."
Asked what a second consecutive victory would mean to her, Mann pondered the thought. After a long pause, she took a deep breath. "Does my silence speak volumes?"
Although two practice sessions preceded Firestone Indy Lights Series qualifying, Mann's qualifying laps were the two fastest laps of the day. Practice was held under bright sunny skies. By the time qualifying started, the sun had dipped behind the Turn one grandstand, improving track conditions.
Track conditions improved for qualifying but not to the point that drivers could put together two consistent qualifying laps. Most drivers saw slower times for their second lap.
Charlie Kimball was one driver whose laps were fairly consistent. His second lap was slower but he still held on to earn a front row starting position. "Having the sun go down and cool off the track was good," Kimball said. "We had it pretty maxed out so there wasn't much more we could do."
Brandon Wagner will start third. As the first driver in the qualifying line, his qualifying speed of 186.027 mph, set the bar high.
Philip Major will start fourth followed by Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe. Cunningham and Hinchcliffe bettered Wagner's mark on their first lap for the provisional pole but their second laps were slower.
J.K. Vernay, who will be crowned 2010 Firestone Indy Lights champion by taking the green flag, will start 13th. "I'm not happy at all about qualifying," said Vernay. "We can improve the car for sure. My goal is win the race tomorrow but we have work to do."
Vernay has earned five victories this season but has yet to win on an oval. He has finished third twice, at Iowa and Kentucky.