Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves dominated practice and qualifying for Sunday's Radisson Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway today. De Ferran, who earned the pole position in qualifying, laid his cards on the table...
Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves dominated practice and qualifying for Sunday's Radisson Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway today. De Ferran, who earned the pole position in qualifying, laid his cards on the table early, recording a lap in the morning session nearly four mph faster than his closest competitor.
"The team did a great job in preparing for this race weekend," said de Ferran after earning his second Indy Racing League pole. "We came testing here a while ago, and my car was 90 percent ready. All I had to do today was just massage the setup a little."
Castroneves, who was 13th in the morning session, joined his teammate atop the speed charts in the second practice with both Penske drivers recording laps faster than the existing track record, which was set by Greg Ray in June of 2000.
After practicing at 180.352 mph, Castroneves became the first driver to reach the 180 mph mark on the one-mile track but conditions changed for qualifying and Ray's track record of 179.874 mph remains intact.
"The conditions were changing a lot, but my car is handling so well it doesn't seem to be badly affected by the conditions," said de Ferran.
De Ferran will start from the pole with a qualifying speed of 177.998 mph while his teammate, Castroneves, will start on the outside of the front row. De Ferran knocked Castroneves off the pole by six one-thousandths of a second.
Felipe Giaffone will start third with defending Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish starting next to him on the outside of the second row. "We're pretty happy about it, considering the wind conditions we had," said Hornish. "It was a little faster than we'd run all day, so we're pretty happy with it."
Scott Sharp, who qualified fifth, was another driver who was happy with his run despite the changing conditions. "It hasn't affected the car the car as much as you'd expect. That's the sign of a good car, one that runs in all kinds of conditions.
After sailing to a sixth-place starting position, Billy Boat sank to the rear of the field after his car failed post-qualifying inspection.
With Boat moved to the rear of the field, Jeff Ward will take over the sixth starting position. Robbie Buhl, Laurent Redon, Tomas Scheckter and Buddy Lazier round out the top ten starters for tomorrow's race.
Live television coverage of the Radisson Indy 225 starts at 4:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised live at noon June 16 on ESPN 2.
Notes from the Radisson Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway:
J.J. Yeley, driver of the Bob East and Tony Stewart owned Pink Ford/Beast, will start from the pole position in Sunday's USAC Silver Crown race. Jay Drake qualified second.
While not behind the wheel of the Treadway Hubbard Racing No. 55 this weekend, Rick Treadway is at PPIR entertaining prospective sponsors.
The Indy Racing League has made six appearances at PPIR prior to this weekend's event. Tony Stewart won the first race in1997. Kenny Brack won in 1998 and Greg Ray won both races at PPIR in 1999. Eddie Cheever and Buddy Lazier won in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
Helio Castroneves received a proclamation from the city of Miami recognizing his second victory in the Indianapolis 500. Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz honored Castroneves, who currently resides in Miami, at a recent city commission meeting.
Open tests for the brand new Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series will take place June 22 at Gateway International Raceway and June 24 at Chicagoland Speedway, giving some participants their first chance to test their equipment.