Matos qualifies on Homestead pole

Raphael Matos will start from the pole position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his first oval race in the Indy Light Series. The pole was his second as the young Brazilian scored a pole on the street circuit at St. Petersburg in 2006 under the...

Raphael Matos will start from the pole position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his first oval race in the Indy Light Series. The pole was his second as the young Brazilian scored a pole on the street circuit at St. Petersburg in 2006 under the Indy Racing League banner. Matos backed up his first pole by scoring victories in both ends of a doubleheader that weekend.

In the past, drivers were given two laps to qualify, but only one counted. Now both count. Qualifying speed is set by the average speed of two laps. Matos' average speed for two laps around the 1.485-mile super speedway was 186.899 mph in his new AFS/Andretti Green Racing ride.

"It feels great to win the pole," said Matos. "The team worked so hard during the winter and through the preseason. This just proves to everybody that we can get the job done. It feels great to start up front. It's really important at this track. I hope we can keep it clean and finish the race well to collect points."

Dillon Battistini, another newcomer to oval racing, will join Matos on the front row. Battistini piloted a Panther Racing entry to an average speed of 186.541 mph. "I joined this team last week," he said. "It's my second day on ovals and in the Firestone Indy Lights car. The last time I drove this car was my rookie test."

Guthrie Racing's Sean Guthrie (186.089) and RLR/Andersen Racing's Andrew Prendeville (186.054) will share the second row. Guthrie said his car has been great and "had no bad habits at all." He also noted his goal for the season is to finish in the top-three at all the oval races.

Drivers from the Sam Schmidt Motorsports stable earned the next three starting positions with Richard Antinucci (185.993) fifth, Ana Beatriz sixth (185.802) and James Davison sixth. Bobby Wilson will start eighth with 2005 Indy Lights Champion Wade Cunningham and Pablo Donoso rounding out the top ten.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Richard Antinucci , Pablo Donoso , Wade Cunningham , James Davison , Bobby Wilson , Sean Guthrie , Ana Beatriz , Dillon Battistini
Teams Panther Racing