Toronto: Sam Schmidt Motorsports qualifying notes

'HINCH' TO START IN SECOND FOR SATURDAY'S TORONTO 100; FOUR SSM CARS IN TOP-TEN TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -- Two practice sessions and qualifying took place on Friday at the downtown Toronto street circuit at Exhibition Place, and when the ...

'HINCH' TO START IN SECOND FOR SATURDAY'S TORONTO 100; FOUR SSM CARS IN TOP-TEN

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -- Two practice sessions and qualifying took place on Friday at the downtown Toronto street circuit at Exhibition Place, and when the checkered flew at the end of the day, James Hinchcliffe found himself in second, followed by Ana Beatriz in seventh, Gustavo Yacaman in eighth, and Wade Cunningham in 10th.

On Saturday, a warm-up session will take place at 8:50 a.m., and the Firestone Indy Lights race begins at 12:30 p.m. All times listed are in EDT. On-track sessions can be viewed live via indycar.com.

The television broadcast of the Toronto 100 airs on Monday, July 13, at 11 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.

James Hinchcliffe puts extra effort into earning second at Toronto.

James Hinchcliffe had to earn his career-tying best Firestone Indy Lights qualification result the hard way on Friday. He went off course early in the session, and moments later, another car also went off course. The field was then put under a full-course caution, and per league officials, Hinchcliffe was to be penalized by having his fastest qualifying lap thrown out for being a cause of the caution. Thus, he had to turn two fast laps to earn his second starting spot. In two previous starts on his hometown circuit, his best finish is sixth, which he hopes to better on Saturday.

Gustavo Yacaman ties career best street circuit starting spot.

Gustavo Yacaman had his work cut out for him at the last Firestone Indy Lights race, in Watkins Glen, when he qualified near the rear of the field -- 18th. In the race, he charged towards the front and passed 11 competitors. This weekend, he's made things a bit easier on himself by tying his career best street circuit qualifying effort -- eighth (St. Pete). Rather than moving up 11 spots, the youngest driver in the series only need to move up seven before he runs out of competitors to pass, and even if he stays where he is, he'll earn his best non-oval finish, which is currently seventh (Watkins Glen).

Just a few tenths separate Cunningham and Beatriz from top spots.

Wade Cunninghan and Ana Beatriz showed throughout the weekend that they had the speed to join Hinchcliffe at the top of the order. Unfortunately, small issues kept both drivers from showing their best potential. Cunningham had problems with his engine not pulling maximum revs in his higher gears, and later, got caught up in traffic. Beatriz was only a couple of tenths from joining the front pack, but couldn't put together that perfect lap. In fact, in an effort to maximize her time around the track, while braking late at the end of Lakeshore Drive, she over-cooked it, and the bumpy track caused her to take the exit road rather than try to make an unsafe corner. Both drivers feel comfortable about this facility they are seeing for the first time and look to move into the top-five by race's end.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe

"It was a good day, but it didn't come easy. We struggled a bit at the beginning of the session and then we had a spin in Turn 3 when I went in a little too hard. I was so furious when they brought out that yellow flag because that means that you lose your quickest lap. I knew from there it would be a bit of an uphill battle. The Sam Schmidt guys gave me a great car. We were able to put together two laps, almost identical, at P2 speed. So not only was it fast, it was consistent. It's a great way to start. It's great to be here in Toronto. I have to thank all the fans, the team and my friends and family that show up for this race."

#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham

"We had a few issues in the qualifying session that kept us from achieving our ultimate goal. That, and traffic hampered us a bit, but I think we've shown that we can be very competitive here. It should be an exciting race, and I'm looking to move my way to the front tomorrow and bring home a solid result for the championship."

#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz

"We were very competitive with the Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt car today. We were just a couple of tenths away from being in the top-three. It's disappointing that we didn't get those positions, but I'm confident for the race. The team has done a very good job, and we have a good car. Let's see what happens. I believe we're going to be competitive when the race starts tomorrow."

#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman

"Qualifying was good. We put on the tires a little too soon, I think.  If we
would have waited a bit, it would have been better, but it's okay.  I think,
in the end, tomorrow, it's going to rain.  So it's going to be just about
finishing the race.  We'll see what happens."

-credit: ssm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Wade Cunningham , James Hinchcliffe , Ana Beatriz , Gustavo Yacaman