IRL: Kentucky: Rahal Letterman Racing qualifying report

PATRICK PACES RLR QUALIFYING AT KENTUCKY SPARTA, Kentucky - Danica Patrick led the RLR trio in qualifying for Sunday's Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret at the Kentucky Speedway. Patrick, the pole sitter at Kentucky in 2005, ...

PATRICK PACES RLR QUALIFYING AT KENTUCKY

SPARTA, Kentucky - Danica Patrick led the RLR trio in qualifying for Sunday's Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret at the Kentucky Speedway. Patrick, the pole sitter at Kentucky in 2005, posted the eleventh fastest lap of the session and will start on the inside of Row Six.

"We missed a little on the gearing, but overall the Argent Mortgage Honda still feels pretty good in race trim," said Danica. "We haven't had a problem setting the car up for the last few races, but we have struggled in qualifying. The run wasn't as bad as I originally thought. Still last year we were on the pole and this year we are starting mid-pack. It just makes race day a little harder, but if we get the car right we can go to the front."

Buddy Rice, the pole winner at Kentucky in 2004, posted a fast lap of 215.541 mph in the No. 15 Argent Mortgage Honda/Dallara/Firestone, which was good for fourteenth on the starting grid.

"That was as fast as the car would go today," said Rice. "I'm not really sure why we are as slow as we are right now. We seem to run in the 24.80s (seconds) with the No. 15 Argent Honda and we have tried a lot of different setups. We ran pretty well with a race setup and we'll have to come from the back of the pack on Sunday. We have been able race with the Dallara but the qualifying hasn't been good in recent races. Let's hope that trend continues for the race here at Kentucky."

Jeff Simmons, RLR's rookie driver in the No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Dallara/Firestone, turned a fast lap of 214.524 mph and will start fifteenth overall.

"We have been trying a lot of different things with the Dallara and, unfortunately, nothing we have tried seems to make us go faster right now," said Simmons. "I wish I could pinpoint one certain reason for our slow pace but we have been attempting to make corrections all day. The qualifying run is disappointing. After four straight top ten finishes, we felt we would come here and run better in qualifying. We definitely thought we would qualify better than this. Now we'll have to work to get the Team Ethanol car right for the race. I think we can do it. I just feel badly for the crew guys who worked so hard to prepare the car."

Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. swept the front row for Sunday's race by eclipsing the 218 mph mark. Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon will start third with a fast lap of 217.003 mph.

-credit: Rahal Letterman Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jeff Simmons , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske