KANAAN CLAIMS POLE FOR MEIJER INDY 300; MUTOH SETS RECORD LAP FOR KENTUCKY 100 SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 10, 2007 -- Tony Kanaan's momentum from his win at Michigan International Speedway transferred to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway ...
KANAAN CLAIMS POLE FOR MEIJER INDY 300; MUTOH SETS RECORD LAP FOR KENTUCKY 100
SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 10, 2007 -- Tony Kanaan's momentum from his win at Michigan International Speedway transferred to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway oval.
Kanaan, driving the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, recorded a quick lap of 218.086 mph (24.4307 seconds) to claim the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award for the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's. IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti (216.810; 24.5745) will join his Andretti Green Racing teammate on the front row.
Scott Sharp, who started from the pole at Kentucky in 2001 and won in '05, will start on the inside of Row 2 after a lap of 216.658 mph (24.5918 seconds) in the No. 8 Patron Rahal Letterman Racing car. Scott Dixon, trailing Franchitti by 24 points entering the 14th of 17 races, will be on the outside of Row 2 after a lap of 216.481 mph (24.6119) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Helio Castroneves' series-record streak of 29 races starting in the top 10 ended when he qualified 13th in the No. 3 Team Penske car (214.880).
MEIJER INDY 300 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award winner): "We're extremely happy with our qualifying effort. The Team 7-Eleven guys did a great job. Tomorrow's a long day and it's a bumpy race track. It's not going to be easy. I'm happy to have a good starting position for the race and having Dario (Franchitti) starting right beside me is going to help even more."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified second): "We had a busy week. All my guys had a busy week, because they had to build a complete new car after the accident last weekend. So, I've got to say to them, 'Great job.' The car was really good straight off the truck. As Tony (Kanaan) said, we worked together. He may have taken a bit of my car, but this weekend I took a bit of his as well. It definitely helped us. We've got good balance with the car on our own, in traffic. I think the car is quite quick. Maybe not as quick as his, but it's very, very strong. I'm just happy with that. We did a qualifying sim. Happy with the speed in qualifying. Again, Tony just seems to have that advantage this weekend, so to be starting up front with him is a big deal. We can definitely do things from there tomorrow. As well as we worked together last weekend and as well as we've worked together since we've been teammates, hopefully we can do that again tomorrow."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal Letterman Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified third): "It was great. The Patron Rahal Letterman Racing guys worked really hard today getting the car. The engineers went over a lot of things, paid great attention to detail and found some things that worked for us. We worked on the race car for most of today's practices and hopefully that pays off later. We really need to continue translating these qualifying successes into good race finishes."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "Not too bad, I think as I was saying before our speed was all over the map today, and it doesn't seem we really changed much on the car. It just seems to go faster or slower on its own. Hopefully traffic this weekend will be pretty decent, and we can still get through. The two Andretti Green Racing guys in the front row are definitely quick. Those are the guys we've got to beat, so we'll definitely try to do that."
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fifth): "We didn't quite get the speed out of the car that we would have liked. I'm not 100 percent sure why, but certainly we have a good race car. We'll make the best of it."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone qualified sixth): "So far so good. I think we've got a pretty good car. Maybe not quite as good as last weekend at Michigan, but still it's pretty good and it shows what a great effort the team is putting in. I think we are going to be really competitive, and I'm certainly looking forward to tomorrow."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified seventh): "'We're not quite where we wanted to be in qualifying. We were close to the top cars, but we didn't have what it took to make a run for the pole today. Thankfully, we've worked really hard on our race setup, so we should be able to run with the leaders. We just need to stay out of trouble, and I think we'll bring home a solid result for Team Penske tomorrow.''
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified eighth): "We went in two different directions today in practice, which is the benefit of having a two-car team. We took some things from Scott's setup and put them on my car and they definitely made us faster than we had been. I am pleased with the performance of the car today and we will look to keep moving up tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified ninth): "We worked on race setup a lot today and the quickest that I could go on my own was about 214.9 mph, so we had a nice pickup for qualifying. So I'm pretty happy with that and I think that's going to put us in a good position for tomorrow night's race. We've got a fairly good race car put together so I'm looking forward to it."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "It was a little disappointing. We went faster in practice so it was frustrating to come out here and run slower without making any real significant changes to the car. The changes that we did make we should have went faster, but it doesn't always work out like that, I guess. We'll just take our time and it's going to be a decent qualifying position that will put us up there with a good bunch of guys. So we'll just be ready tomorrow to go racing."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 13th): "Obviously, we didn't qualify where we wanted to this afternoon. Team Penske has tried everything we can, and just can't seem to find the speed. Hopefully number thirteen will be lucky for us tomorrow (Castroneves will be starting thirteenth tomorrow). It's a new day, and we just have to come back out and see if we can get it done during the race."