IRL: Kansas: Chevy qualifying report

Hornish sizzles in Kansas Speedway qualifying with third front-row start of season. KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 6, 2002 -- Sam Hornish Jr. had the hot hand for Chevrolet today in qualifying for Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200. In hot and humid ...

Hornish sizzles in Kansas Speedway qualifying with third front-row start of season.

KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 6, 2002 -- Sam Hornish Jr. had the hot hand for Chevrolet today in qualifying for Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200. In hot and humid conditions at Kansas Speedway, Hornish was the top Chevy qualifier with Panther Racing's Pennzoil Dallara, capturing the outside front row starting spot with a 217.743 mph lap on the 1.5-mile speedway. Tomas Scheckter edged Hornish for the pole with a 218.547 mph run in his Infiniti-powered entry.

"That lap was actually better than we thought we could run," said Hornish, who was one of seven drivers who eclipsed the track record set by Scott Sharp last year at 216.175 mph. "After we saw how much some of the other cars slowed down today, we weren't sure whether we could run that fast. Chevrolet and Firestone have been working well with us to give us good engines and good tires. I'm very confident going into this tough part of the season where we're racing almost every weekend. The team is giving me good equipment, so as long as the driver keeps the car off the wall, we'll be OK.

"We started with the setup we used last year in Chicago, and it didn't work that well for us," Hornish reported. "Andy Brown (team engineer) has been working hard to figure out a setup for the race. Right now the track has a lot of rubber from the NASCAR truck race on it, and it's a little slick. We'll see where we stand tomorrow after the warm-up."

Chevrolet and Infiniti split the top 10 with five cars each. Buddy Lazier was the second fastest Chevy driver at 216.328 mph in Hemelgarn Racing's Dallara and will start on the inside of the third row.

"It was a pretty good run but the car was loose," said Lazier. "It was a good effort, but with a few slight changes we could have made a run for the pole. It felt very good, and we have a good race car.

"The race track is going to be slippery," Lazier predicted. "With the new surface last year we had a lot of grip, but this year there is a lot less grip. It's going to be a handling track, not a horsepower track."

Airton Dare qualified A.J. Foyt's Chevrolet Dallara sixth on the grid at 216.285 mph, his best qualifying performance of the season.

"We tried not to mess ourselves up in practice by running in the draft," Dare explained. "That's about the speed we expected. The temperature got hotter since practice, so we lost a little with the heat. When it gets hot the car usually pushes a little more, so the Harrah's team did a great job for me adjusting for the conditions. For the race it will be different -- you're going to need more grip to go flat-out all the way around. You need power, but you also need the car to handle."

Richie Hearn made a strong qualifying run with Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Chevrolet Dallara after posting several fast times in practice. He qualified ninth at 215.694 mph.

"The track temperature is 20 degree hotter than we've ever run so it was a bit of a guess on how much downforce to run," Hearn revealed. "We probably should have run a little more in front because the wind was pushing the car up the track and scrubbing off speed. We'll have a good car tomorrow.

"It means a lot for this team to run up front," Hearn added. "We need some strong runs to show what we can do next year."

Penske Racing teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves struggled in qualifying, placing 21st and seventh respectively in the 23-car field.

"We don't know what happened," said de Ferran, the IRL points leader, after he qualified at 211.714 mph. "We went out with a car that could run 216 mph this morning. I almost crashed in turn 4 on my opening lap, the car just understeered off the road. On the second lap, the same thing happened and I had to get off the throttle big time. The car was great this morning, but had an unbelievable amount of push in turn 4."

The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 will start at 1 p.m. EDT (noon local time) on Sunday, July 7. The 300-mile, 200-lap race will be televised live on ABC and broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.

-chevy-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Buddy Lazier , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Richie Hearn , Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske