DREYER & REINBOLD RACING QUALIFIED 5TH AND 26TH FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
Today was an exciting day for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, who will be making their third appearance at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach tomorrow. The team proved that their hard work throughout the last two days had paid off as they had successful results in today's qualifications for Sunday's race. Justin Wilson, pilot of the No. 22 Z-Line Designs machine qualified 5th on the grid for tomorrow's event. His teammate, Ana Beatriz, pilot of the No. 24 Ipiranga car, will start 26th for the race.
Experience has paid off for the Sheffield, England native. This will be Wilson's 8th time to compete at the 1.968-mile circuit. The veteran has had a lot of success at the track and he is prepared to be one of the one's to beat tomorrow as he qualified 5th for the event. In 2008, the Englishman started on the pole for the final Champ Car race. He has competed in the Long Beach Champ Car races from 2004-2008. His best finish was second in 2010 and in 2006 with fourth place finishes in 2005 and 2007. Last year he started 3rd for the race.
In the first couple of practice sessions Wilson struggled with the braking and getting the rear of the car sorted out. The No. 22 Z-Line Designs crew worked diligently and by qualifying Wilson had the car that he needed to put him at the top of the speed charts. As a result he helped to put on another nail-biting qualifying performance for the third round of the IZOD IndyCar Series and in the last thirty seconds, he bumped his way back into the Firestone Fast Six after being nudged out. He clocked a time of 1:09.8097 (101.487 mph) and will start 5th for tomorrow's race. For the first three evens of the 2011 season Wilson and Will Power are the only two drivers that have advanced consecutively to the Firestone Fast Six.
Last season, Wilson earned DRR's best result since team co-owner, Robbie Buhl, won in 2000 at Walt Disney World Speedway, as he came home with 2nd place finishes for the organization in St. Petersburg, Florida and in Long Beach, California. He started competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2008 and since then he has won on a street course (2008 Belle Isle) and a road course (2009 Watkins Glen). Wilson has also advanced to 18 Firestone Fast Six sessions since 2008. Out of those sessions he has qualified in the top-5 twelve times.
After breaking her scaphoid bone at the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Florida three weeks ago, this weekend was about getting Beatriz more comfortable to the car. The Brazilian soldiered through the practice sessions and kept her head down as she qualified the Ipiranga car. This morning's practice session was meant for Bia to get more track time under her belt and to get adjusted to the modifications on her brace. The 26-year old clocked a time of 1:11.0341 (99.738 mph) and will start 26th.
The focus for tomorrow is to finish the race in a good position and to stay out of trouble.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be on track tomorrow for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. The race telecast will air live at 3:30 pm (ET) on VERSUS and on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145, and Sirius channel 211. For more updates on the team, please visit www.dreyerreinboldracing.com.
What they have to say about the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach...
Justin Wilson, No. 22 Z-Line Designs:"I've got to thank everyone who's working on the Z-Line Designs car. We made a few changes from this morning and the car's much better now. The guys kept their heads down and dug their heels in and we ended up with a race car that's pretty good. It was nice to go out there and stick a time in and get a place in the Firestone Fast Six. We got a bit more adventurous in the Fast Six, trying to find another step in the same direction. It was good, but there was one part that tipped it over and meant we were pretty loose under braking in a few places. So having made it to the Fast Six I'm disappointed we didn't do a little bit better, but we've learned a lot and hopefully we'll have a good race car for tomorrow."
Ana Beatriz, No. 24 Ipiranga: "I was confident that in three to four laps that I could get over the limit with my wrist and attack the corners more and it would be fine. With the Firestone "red" alternate tires there was so much more grip and I felt so much more comfortable and confident with the car. I thought that we did a good lap. It was a good learning experience and I think it was a good session. The focus for tomorrow is to finish the race in a good position and to stay out of trouble."