Sciuto to Start Sixth, Barron 16th as Polestar Team Improves Grid Positions for Portland Atlantic Race Portland, Oregon (June 17, 2006) -- Alan Sciuto ( ...
Sciuto to Start Sixth, Barron 16th as Polestar Team Improves Grid Positions for Portland Atlantic Race
Portland, Oregon (June 17, 2006) -- Alan Sciuto (#12 Sealy/PKV Racing/The RoomStore of Phoenix) captured his best starting spot this season by virtue of setting the sixth fastest time in today's final round of qualifying for tomorrow's Atlantic race at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. Polestar Racing Group teammate Alex Barron (#21 The RoomStore of Phoenix) also improved his time over yesterday's provisional qualifying round and will start from the 16th position.
"Sixth is our best qualifying position so far this year, so I'm pretty stoked about that," said Sciuto, who moved up one spot from seventh in yesterday's first qualifying round. "We finally were able to get some good grip out of the car as well as find a good balance. We definitely made some steps in the right direction and now we've got some more things we can try to, hopefully, get us up front for the race."
"We've got a better balance than we had in practice and in qualifying yesterday," said Barron, who was provisionally 20th after rains virtually washed-out the second half of yesterday's first qualifying session. "We still have some oversteer in the car so we'll take a look at what we need to do to fix that. Traffic was also an issue on my new set of tires and I never was able to get a good, clean lap. It's unfortunate that we're starting near the back, but it's going to be a matter of who has the best car at the end of the race because tires are going to be an issue here."
Tomorrow's Trinity Carpet 100K, round 4 of the 12-race Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, will start at 10:00 local tomorrow morning. The race will be televised via SPEED on Saturday, June 24 at 4:00 PM ET.
Last year's Portland race featured an Atlantic double-header where the Chardon, Ohio-based Polestar team fielded rookies Katherine Legge and Antoine Bessette. Legge, who now competes in the Champ Car World Series with PKV Racing, started the first race seventh and finished ninth. Legge captured her second of five podiums in 2005 by climbing up to third after starting tenth in Portland's second race. Teammate Bessette started from fifth and finished fifth in both Portland races.
Barron, of Menifee, California, is the only Atlantic champion competing in the field this weekend. After taking the 1997 Atlantic series by storm with five wins, four poles and the Rookie-of-the-Year title, he then competed in the Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League from 1998 to 2005 with such teams as Cheever Racing, All American Racers and Team Penske.
Sciuto, 18, was recognized as North America's top shifter kart racer in 2004 before competing in three Atlantic races last year. He finished fourth in his series debut on the challenging San Jose street course then, the following week in Denver, led both rounds of qualifying to capture his first career Atlantic pole position and establish himself as the youngest-ever Atlantic pole winner at just 17 years of age.
Polestar team owners Jim and Pam Griffith and Bruce Potter are all experienced Atlantic veterans, having been instrumental to the Atlantic championship-winning efforts of Barron, Patrick Carpentier (1996) and Buddy Rice (2000).
This weekend, the Polestar team is sporting "Get Well Willie" signage on both racecars as a special tribute to crew member Bill Masley, who is back home in Cleveland, Ohio, undergoing treatment for leukemia. Masley, 22, was diagnosed just two weeks ago and is scheduled for his second round of chemotherapy this weekend.