CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexmark Indy 300 Friday summary

LEXMARK INDY 300 CONTINUES TO POWER ON The familiar scream of Champ Car and the roar of V8 Supercar action proved the perfect ingredients for a magnificent day two crowd of 65,004 at this year's Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold ...

LEXMARK INDY 300 CONTINUES TO POWER ON

The familiar scream of Champ Car and the roar of V8 Supercar action proved the perfect ingredients for a magnificent day two crowd of 65,004 at this year's Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Organisers have been blessed with major attendances during the opening two days of the iconic Australian event that has already seen a total of 123,691 people shuffle through the gates in support of the first class entertainment on show.

"Once again we had big crowds enjoying the racing action on-track and are anticipating more of the same over an action-packed weekend," said Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager Greg Hooton.

"Drivers in all categories are entering the serious side of their Lexmark Indy 300 campaigns and that'll make weekend tickets to this year's event some of the hottest in town."

The double featured International open wheel and touring car racing package proved a major hit, as Spaniard Oriol Servia made the most of another perfect Queensland day to be the provisional pole sitter of the 17th Lexmark Indy 300.

Last year's three-race V8 Supercar Challenge runner-up Mark Winterbottom of Ford Performance Racing secured top qualifying honours in the V8 Supercar Challenge to book his position on the front row of the start grid of tomorrow's opening race.

Servia's late call up to PKV Racing earlier this week couldn't have been greeted with a better result for the 'super-sub' of the Round 13 encounter of the Champ Car World Series.

"We knew we had a good car but obviously we'll now have to continue this form and put it all together on Sunday," said Servia.

As the provisional pole sitter, Servia guarantees himself a start from the front row of the grid for Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300.

It was almost early celebrations for the massive crowd in attendance on the Gold Coast when home nation driver Will Power looked set to claim his second successive top provisional qualifying result on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

Servia's final flying lap denied the Toowoomba driver who had to settle into second and will also need to adjust his race strategy after having an appeal against a power-to-pass penalty denied.

The decision, handed down from the previous Champ Car World Series round in Holland, will mean the Queenslander will only have the use of the 'power-to-pass' facility for 35 seconds during Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300. Most other drivers will have the usual 75 seconds of use that provides an injection of 50 extra horsepower when utilised.

"We can still win the race without as much power-to-pass but will need to be conservative. Whatever the situation is we'll give it a good go," said Power.

"It's great to know we have the car speed so we'll come back tomorrow and shoot for overall pole."

Another of last year's top performers on the 4.47 kilometre street circuit was V8 Supercar young gun Mark Winterbottom and he maintained recent speed from the endurance rounds to record his third straight top qualifying position in the Championship Series.

Keen to go one better than his second place in 2006, Winterbottom qaulified ahead of Holden's Toll HSV Racing's Garth Tander and James Courtney who piloted the Jeld-wen Falcon.

"It's great to have three poles in a row. There's no one thing that has improved across the past few races with the car we've just managed to maintain a solid package," said Winterbottom.

"I really pushed hard, even managed to bend the mirrors on the wall a couple of times just to put some solid consistent times together.

"While Bathurst was disappointing for Richo (team mate Steve Richards) the team and I, we're putting that to the back of our minds and going for the win this weekend.

"I've never won a sprint round in my career so hopefully this can be the place to do it."

Support category drivers book-ended the entertainment bill today with Paul Kemal continuing to rule the roost in Coates Aussie Racing cars to claim two wins from two starts at the Lexmark Indy 300.

The VIP Petfood driver beat home regular V8 Supercar campaigner Paul Morris (Team Sirromet Wines) and Nick Lowe (Team BOC) who settled for third.

Race two of the Haymans Electrical V8 Utes saw New South Wales driver George Miedecke claim the win ahead of Ray Sidebottom and Ryal Harris.

Tomorrow's on-track action at the 2007 Lexmark Indy 300 begins at 8:00am with numerous promotional activities before another massive program of race events highlighted by practice at 10am by the Champ Cars as a lead in to the first race of the V8 Supercar Challenge.

-credit: www.indy.com.au

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Series V8SUPERCARS , CAMS , INDYCAR