IRL: Atlanta Schroeder qualifies sixth

ATLANTA, July 14 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified sixth Friday night during MBNA pole qualifying for Saturday night's Midas 500 Classic Indy Racing Northern Light series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race...

ATLANTA, July 14 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified sixth Friday night during MBNA pole qualifying for Saturday night's Midas 500 Classic Indy Racing Northern Light series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The race will be broadcast live on ESPN at 8 p.m. EDT. A pre-race show, Indy Racing 2Day, will be televised live at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on ESPN2.

The lineup was established by comparing each driver's best lap of two. The best qualifying lap for Schroeder, behind the wheel of Tri Star Motorsports' Kroger Dallara Aurora #6, was the first one, which was run at an average speed of 211.698 mph. That was just a shade slower than the 211.848-mph lap he ran about two hours earlier when he was fourth-fastest in the last practice session before time trials.

He will start on the outside of row three Saturday night beside one of the drivers he's competing against for the Racesearch.com Rookie of the Year award, Sarah Fisher, who ran one lap that was 0.141 mph faster than Schroeder ran. The pole went to Greg Ray with an average speed of 216.104 mph.

"We only made some small changes to the car between practice and qualifying," Schroeder said. "It was basically the same car. Everything has been going smoothly. The car isn't pushing; it's pretty neutral. It's faster in traffic because of the draft, but the car isn't moving around alone or in traffic. The important thing here is to have a car that has a good balance, and I think we've achieved that."

Schroeder has competed on the road course here in U.S. Formula 2000 competition, but this is his first race of any kind on the high-banked oval here.

"It's extremely similar to Texas Motor Speedway, but you feel less G force and less load here than at Texas," he said. "I was surprised at how sandy the track surface is though. There's still a lot of grit flying around out there."

What is Schroeder's strategy for tomorrow night's race?

"Keep my nose clean and finish the race," he said firmly.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Jeret Schroeder