Meira Masters Milwaukee Mile to take MBNA Pole Position West Allis, WI, 24 July 2004 - Vitor Meira earned his first MBNA Pole Position of the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season today, taking top spot for the Menards A.J. Foyt...
Meira Masters Milwaukee Mile to take MBNA Pole Position
West Allis, WI, 24 July 2004 - Vitor Meira earned his first MBNA Pole Position of the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season today, taking top spot for the Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile. The second of 22 drivers to record laps in time trials on a cloudy, cool afternoon, the driver of Rahal Letterman Racing's #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone challenger gave most of the credit to his team, which has plenty of recent winning experience on this flat, fast oval.
After running a lap of 169.338mph Meira had to wait until time trials were complete, yet initially professed to be "really happy with our run today. We had a bit of a lift in Turn 4 on the second lap; on the first lap I made sure we were in good shape and on the second lap I risked it. There was a little bit of push," he recalled. "To make pole, everything must go right and the car's speed continues to prove that the Panoz G Force/Honda package is the one to have. In racing sometimes you are down and sometimes you are up; we are up right now and I want to keep it that way," Meira declared.
Teammate Buddy Rice starts third in the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda after turning his lap of 168.272mph as the third driver to qualify. "I'm really happy with our Panoz G Force," the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner stated. We both have strong cars and I'm really happy to see Vitor take pole this afternoon. This is a handling track and, quite frankly we have no issues."
Adrian Fernandez starts sixth after his #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda lapped this familiar oval at 168.001mph. After making changes from morning practice, the Mexican was "pretty happy. This is the best we've run all weekend; we're about 3/10ths of a second up on our best practice time. We've always been quick here and that should help us tomorrow."
It was a feast-or-famine day for Team Target as Darren Manning placed his #10 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota tenth on the grid, the third driver to qualify at 166.080mph. The Briton had "a bit of a moment between turns 3 and 4 and I completely lost any momentum." Teammate Scott Dixon crashed in morning practice and on his second qualifying lap with the spare #1 Target Panoz G Force/Toyota and the team will give the Kiwi another back-up car to start last pending medical clearance from the IRL.
The Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 is set to take the green flags at 2:30PM CDT tomorrow afternoon and will be seen live on ABC TV in the United States. It is race #9 in the 16-event IndyCar Series campaign.