Daly Qualifies on Front Row for Tonight's Night Before the 500 Event, Calderon Gains Speed and Confidence for Round Four
Indianapolis, Ind., May 29, 2010 - Hometown driver Conor Daly, 18, will start tonight's 125-lap race at O'Reilly Raceway Park on the front row of the grid in second position. The Noblesville, Indiana resident was the fastest driver in three out of the four official practice sessions he participated in this weekend and just missed the pole by a mere .028 seconds to Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier.
"I'm still really happy with taking second," said Daly. "We are starting on the front row, so I can't be unhappy about that. The Juncos Racing car has been consistently fast, and I'm starting on the outside line which is the proper racing line. If I get a good start, I might be able to get around (Mikael) Grenier, but I also don't want to take any chances too early in the race. I'm really looking forward to the race tonight. It's going to be a really, really good event."
At the O'Reilly Raceway Park official series test at the beginning of this month, Daly delivered a fastest lap time of 20.187 seconds-the fastest lap time ever made in a Pro Formula Mazda and one of the fastest lap times ever made in an open-wheel racing car. With a great car, natural talent and a bit of confidence, Daly will try his luck at making another track record tonight at the first oval night race of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
After achieving her goal of finishing in the top ten positions last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 17-year old Tatiana Calderon entered this weekend's event with a newly found boost of confidence. That confidence shined on track as Calderon produced faster and faster lap times during the official practice sessions, running as high as fourth at one point in a session and clocking in a fastest lap time so far of 20.881 seconds. With only two warm-up laps and two timed laps to deliver quick results, the rookie driver found her first qualifying session on an oval track to be a challenging one. Calderon stayed on the pace, however, with a lap time of 21.130 seconds-only .465 seconds off the pole-and will start tonight's race in 12th position.
"I'm happy with my qualifying result," said Calderon. "It was a very difficult session for me. This was my first time qualifying on an oval track, and there are a lot of drivers in the series who already have that experience. I do have a lot more confidence going into this race, though. I think I could end up in the top ten again in tonight's race. It's a long race, so hopefully I can stay in it and pass some drivers to get the result I want."
Tonight's "Night Before the 500" race at O'Reilly Raceway Park's .686-mile oval will mark both the first oval race of the season as well as the first night race of the season-two exciting elements that will contribute to the anticipation of Round Four of the Star Mazda Championship.
-source: juncos racing