TARGET TEAMMATES DIXON, WHELDON LEAD IOWA OPEN TEST; CUNNINGHAM WINS SWE POLE FOR IOWA 100 NEWTON, Iowa, Friday, June 22, 2007 -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon recorded the fastest laps at a rain-shortened ...
TARGET TEAMMATES DIXON, WHELDON LEAD IOWA OPEN TEST; CUNNINGHAM WINS SWE POLE FOR IOWA 100
NEWTON, Iowa, Friday, June 22, 2007 -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon recorded the fastest laps at a rain-shortened IndyCar Series Open Test at Iowa Speedway Friday.
Nineteen cars combined to complete 1,433 laps on the 0.875-mile oval which will host its first IndyCar Series race on June 24. Teams practiced for 1 hour, 27 minutes before rain ended the session, which had been scheduled for four hours.
Dixon lapped the track in 17.606 seconds, 182.857 mph in the No. 9 Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Wheldon, celebrating his 29th birthday, had a quick lap of 17.6710 (182.129 mph.)
Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves were third and fourth fastest respectively with laps of 182.127 mph and 181.960 mph.
Marco Andretti was fifth fastest (181.869) while Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was sixth (181.594). Buddy Rice, Tomas Scheckter, Ed Carpenter and Jeff Simmons rounded out the top 10.
Also on June 22, Wade Cunningham secured his first SWE Race Car Parts Award of the season earning the pole for the Iowa 100 at Iowa Speedway.
Cunningham, the 2005 Indy Pro Series champion, turned a lap of 161.306 mph (19.9651 seconds) to earn his sixth career pole.
Points leader Alex Lloyd will join Cunningham on the front row (160.827; 20.0116), while Guthrie Racing's Sean Guthrie (series-best third at 159.732) and Joey Scarallo (series-best fourth at 159.395) will be on Row 2.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Guthrie Racing Team has moved its team shop headquarters from team owner Jim Guthrie's hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., to Brownsburg, Ind., near Indianapolis.
JIM GUTHRIE (Owner, Guthrie Racing): "It just made too much sense for us. Everything is in Indianapolis that we need to operate our team. When everything is going right, working from New Mexico is fine, but if we have a problem, we need to be closer to the people and companies that can help us fix it. Albuquerque will always be our home, but to base an Indy Pro Series operation out of a place that is so remote to anywhere we race makes it very difficult logistically and financially to justify. We have leased a shop in Brownsburg, and we're looking forward to making our homebase in Indy. This will be better for everyone involved."
SWE RACE CAR PARTS POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:
* This is Wade Cunningham's first SWE Pole Award of the season and the sixth pole of his career. His last pole came at Infineon in August 2006. His last oval pole position came at Milwaukee in July 2006. This is AFS Racing's first pole in the Indy Pro Series.
* Alex Lloyd qualified second, his sixth front row start in eight races. He has qualified on the front row at each race that SWE Pole Qualifying has been held.
* Sean Guthrie (third) and Joey Scarallo (fourth) recorded career-best qualifying performances.
SWE RACE CAR PARTS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, SWE Pole Award winner): "It's been a long journey back to front -- we've had some mechanical and contact issues. The track was different from this morning to this afternoon, and this morning there was a lack of rubber on the track, and it was pretty windy. Testing three weeks ago really gave us a leg up. For qualifying, we made the right call and testing helped us make those decisions regarding gearing and downforce settings. Tomorrow definitely won't be easy. We'll be lapping cars pretty early. As far as tire wear goes, we should be OK even though this is the longest race of the season because we'll hold them down all the time because of the banking. It was different at Milwaukee because it's such a flat track, but the tire wear will still depend a lot on how we run traffic."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/ Isilon Systems/SSM, qualified second): "We were hoping to get a little more (in qualifying). We were good in traffic during practice, but not really fast on our own. Tomorrow will be a difficult day because some guys are difficult to pass. But, we've been on the front row all year so far and this is a fun track to race. The good thing is that we tested a few weeks back. That helped. We knew roughly what set-up we needed, even though conditions are different now than they were then, but it helped in finding the downforce level to run. It's going to be a tough race, but the car should be better in race trim. We've been pretty relaxed the last few races and we've been able to build a little cushion in the point race. (As far as leading the points) you know you're going to have some problems somewhere down the line, but that's why the season is so long."
SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 4 Car Crafters Racing Special, qualified third): "That's the best we've qualified in about two and a half years. He whole season, we have been pretty race, it has just been a matter of getting to the front. We didn't have any testing here. We put a combination setup on it from a couple of different tracks and were fast right out of the box. The car is actually a better race car than a qualifying car, so I'm pleasantly surprised. Last time we started this far forward was a couple of years ago in Formula Ford and we won that race. So we'll see what happens." (About Iowa Speedway): "The track is phenomenal and will be a lot of fun to race on. Honestly, I don't know what other track I'd compare it to. It's really a track all its own.:
JOEY SCARALLO (No. 15 RLR/Andersen Racing Group A Wheels, qualified fourth): "We didn't really get to do any testing at all here. The guys put a good setup on at the start this morning and that made up a lot of lost time we had from testing. Honestly, I thought we would be a touch better. I don't know if we ran out of fuel or had a misfire, but going into (Turn) 3, on the last lap, something happened. I'm glad we picked this one to qualify as good as we did. I knew we could have a good run because we got the car running good last session. We just need to do that 112 more times during the race."
Arie Luyendyk Jr., the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and the Indy Pro Series' all-time leader with 44 career starts, is the spotter for Guthrie Racing's Tom Wieringa this weekend. Luyendyk spotted for Wieringa at both events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Freedom 100 on the oval in May and the Liberty Challenge doubleheader on the road course June 16-17. Luyendyk is pursuing opportunities to return to driving in the Indy Pro Series later this season.
IndyCar Series team officials Michael Andretti and Larry Foyt were on pit lane during SWE Pole Qualifying for the Iowa 100. Andretti is co-owner of Andretti Green Racing, which fields the No. 11 Osofresh car driven by Jaime Camara. The team also is partners with AFS Racing, which fields the No. 27 car driven by Wade Cunningham. Foyt, the team manager for AJ Foyt Racing, was talking with Team KMA co-owner Jon Lewis. Earlier in the day, IndyCar Series Kosuke Matsuura was an interested observer in the pit of countryman Hideki Mutoh during Indy Pro Series practice.
Race fans and animal lovers alike can share the excitement of the Indy Racing League's debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend while helping Best Friends Animal Society, the not-for-profit organization that operates the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States.
Fans can donate money to Best Friends based on the number of laps Andrew Prendeville completes in Saturday's Indy Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway and throughout the rest of the season by making pledges at racinglapsforbestfriends.com. Donations may be made using MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover credit cards.
Donations may also be made by telephone at (435) 644-2001, extension 4801, or by mailing checks payable to "Racing Laps for Best Friends" to: Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741-5000.
Fans donate a set amount of money for each lap that Prendeville completes in each race. At $1 per lap for the 115-lap Indy Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway Saturday, the donation would be $115 if he completes all the laps. If the car would only complete 10 laps then the donation would be $10.Straight donations in any amount may also be made, and per-lap donations start at 25 cents.
Best Friends Animal Society supports animal welfare programs throughout the world, including Iowa. At any given time it is caring for approximately 1,500 animals at its sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Best Friends hopes the exposure to racing fans will raise awareness of the organization and gain support for animal welfare.
Today is Dan Wheldon's 29th birthday. He was allowed to run the first lap on track during IndyCar Series Open Testing and received a birthday card from young fan Cole Fink, whose parents, Mike and Sandy run Dreyer & Reinbold Racing hospitality.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is at Iowa Speedway this weekend serving as an Indy Racing League driver coach. Unser is filling in for his father, four-time winner Al Unser, who is attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England this weekend.
INDYCAR SERIES POST TESTING QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fastest in testing): "It was a lot of fun. I think when I came here last time for (the IndyCar Series compatibility test), we came with a car that probably had more downforce in it, was a little slower and little easier to drive. Today, it was definitely very fast. For such a small track, you're flat out with the banking. It was also a lot of fun. You can run quite close or very close to the other cars. There's tons of grip for us. I think, in that direction, the race is going to look very exciting. As Dan (Wheldon) touched on, I think it's going to be difficult to pass. It just seems like the middle lane is so much further to go to try and get around somebody. That may be tough and that may put a little more emphasis on trying to qualify up front. But it was fun today. It's a cool track."
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second fastest): "I spoke to Rusty (Wallace) prior to race weekend, and he talked about how good it is. I have to say I have the same feelings. In my opinion, it's a cross between Kentucky and somewhat similar to Pikes Peak. There's a few little bumps in (Turns) 1 and 2, which makes it a challenge, but for the most part it's an incredibly entertaining track to drive. I think it's somewhat difficult to pass. You can certainly run side-by-side but to flat out overtake somebody that's a similar speed is difficult. I think it bodes very well for some great racing."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third fastest): "The Team Penske car was really good right from the beginning of the session. Since Helio tested here earlier this year, we had a pretty good idea of our starting point for today. We were able to run flat out after about three laps, so we just tried to trim out the car as the day went on. Despite the rain, I think we're in pretty good shape heading into tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be able to improve a little bit so we can make a run at the pole."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth fastest): "We had a chance to shake down the Team Penske car this afternoon, and I'm happy with how it's handling thus far. We wanted to work a bit more today, but unfortunately, we got rained out. So, we'll come back tomorrow to continue working to fine-tune the car for Sunday."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest): "I'm happy with what we were able to accomplish today. The NYSE car was good overall. We'll spend some time tomorrow on the qualifying setup but with this being a new track, we'll need to focus more on our race car."
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 24 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Iowa 100 on June 23 at the Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. on July 3. ESPN2's coverage of the Liberty Challenge will be telecast at 5 p.m. on June 21.