SPARTA, Ky., Aug. 14, 2004 - Tomas Scheckter was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver in qualifying for Sunday's Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Scheckter will start Pennzoil Panther Racing's Chevrolet from the 13th spot on the...
SPARTA, Ky., Aug. 14, 2004 - Tomas Scheckter was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver in qualifying for Sunday's Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Scheckter will start Pennzoil Panther Racing's Chevrolet from the 13th spot on the grid with a 213.091 mph qualifying lap on the 1.5-mile speedway. Buddy Rice won the pole in a Honda G Force at 216.016 mph.
"We're struggling a little," Scheckter said, "but we always know we have a good race car. Panther's given me such good race cars this year and that's what we have to rely on. We'll see what we can do tomorrow."
Rookie Ed Carpenter will start alongside Scheckter after posting the second fastest qualifying speed for Chevy at 212.976 mph, placing him 14th on the grid in Red Bull Cheever Racing's Chevrolet Dallara.
"This was the first track where I tested an IndyCar Series car last year," Carpenter noted. "Kentucky Speedway changes every year we come here. We backed up what we did in practice, and I thought we could run 213 mph. Now we have to work on our race setup."
Carpenter's teammate Alex Barron qualified 17th in Red Bull Cheever Racing's second entry at 212.051 mph.
"The car was well balanced, but we have to see on the data what happened because we ran slower than we did in practice," Barron reported. "When we ran in traffic this morning we had a really good car, so I think the race looks good for us. In the race everyone will put downforce in the car and I think everything evens out."
Felipe Giaffone, who won at Kentucky Speedway in 2002 with Chevrolet power, was the 18th qualifier in the Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara.
"The car is handling well, but we just can't find the speed," he said. "I think we're going to have a good race car and hopefully we can keep up with the guys. The track is not as bumpy and I think that will close up the competition."
Jaques Lazier will start from the 20th spot in Patrick Racing's Chevrolet Dallara.
"We definitely had a better car than what qualifying showed," Lazier said. "We made a gear change before we went out. We were running fifth gear and I was going to go to sixth gear. We decided to stay in fifth and I hit the hard rpm limiter going into Turn 1. When you hit the limiter it slows the car down so much that you can't ramp back up. We had a good car and would have run faster."
The Panther Racing crew changed an engine in Townsend Bell's Menards/Johns Manville Dallara after practice; per IRL regulations, Bell did not make a qualifying run and will start 22nd.
The Belterra Casino Indy 300 will start at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 15. The 200-lap, 300-mile race will be televised live on ABC.