IRL: Milwaukee: Qualifying report

CASTRONEVES EARNS AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POLE AWARD WEST ALLIS, Wis., Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Helio Castroneves grabbed his second consecutive AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award -- and fourth of the season -- claiming the top starting spot for the...

CASTRONEVES EARNS AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POLE AWARD

WEST ALLIS, Wis., Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Helio Castroneves grabbed his second consecutive AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award -- and fourth of the season -- claiming the top starting spot for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable.

Castroneves turned a lap of 171.071 mph (21.3596 seconds) to claim Team Penske's third straight pole position at The Milwaukee Mile. He also started from the pole last year, and teammate Sam Hornish Jr. won the 2005 race from the pole. Series points leader Scott Dixon will start on the outside of Row 1.

Tony Kanaan, driving the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car, recorded a quick lap of 169.158 mph and will join Dixon's teammate, Dan Wheldon (169.097), on Row 2. Hornish (168.258) will share Row 3 with Super Aguri Panther Racing's Kosuke Matsuura (season-high sixth; 167.462). Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Buddy Rice (167.456) and Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter (167.066) both posted season bests and will be on Row 4. Delphi Panther Racing's Vitor Meira (166.981) will share the fifth row with Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti.

Jeff Simmons did not make a qualifying attempt after the No. 17 Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone made contact with the SAFER Barrier at the exit of Turn 2 in the second practice session.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

This is the fourth IndyCar Series event at the Milwaukee Mile. Tony Kanaan is the defending race winner. Helio Castroneves holds the qualifying record with a lap of 21.1854 seconds, 172.477 mph set in July 2006.

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Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006) and Dario Franchitti (2007).

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Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2006), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

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Dario Franchitti will attempt to become the first IndyCar Series driver to win at the Milwaukee Mile in the week following an Indianapolis 500 win. From 1947-1995, the drivers and cars that participated in the Indianapolis 500 competed at the Milwaukee Mile in the weeks following the "500." Nine drivers won at Indianapolis and Milwaukee in successive events: Pat Flaherty (1956), A.J. Foyt (1964), Al Unser (1971), Johnny Rutherford (1974), Gordon Johncock (1982), Tom Sneva (1983), Rick Mears (1988) and Al Unser Jr. (1994). Juan Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, then won the CART-sanctioned event the following week.

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The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Sam Schmidt Motorsports hosted several guests as a part of its "Day at the Races" program.

Guests included patients from the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, spinal cord injured patients at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Trauma Center, and members of the Milwaukee Iron Team.

The foundation is active in advocacy efforts benefiting the disabled and funds organizations throughout the world that directly benefit people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

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AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Helio Castroneves' fourth AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award this season and the 20th pole position of his IndyCar Series career, extending his series record for career poles.

* Castroneves won his fourth pole in five IndyCar Series events. He previously won poles at St. Petersburg, Twin Ring Motegi and Indianapolis.

* Scott Dixon qualified second, his first front-row start of the season.

* Kosuke Matsuura (sixth), Buddy Rice (seventh) and Ed Carpenter (eighth) recorded their season-best starts.

AAMCO TRANSMISSIONS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award winner): "We keep working. No question, it's great to start on the front. This place is about consistency. One day is not enough to work as hard as we wanted, but it's the same for everyone. We know we have a fast car. Now we need to be consistent, and I do believe we have that one." (About qualifying well here but struggling with race results) "This place is so awesome. I enjoy it so much, but there's always been something that's come around. We're not going to think that way. This year is going to be a good year. Hopefully, we're going to collect a lot of points."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified second): "This morning we were struggling real bad. Then we did some mock fuel runs. We changed the car spring-wise quite a bit, and with rear dampers the car just came alive. I'm more happy with my race car than with my qualifying car."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified third): "I'm not on the pole so I'm not very happy. We came here expecting to start on the pole and I'm not at all happy with our qualifying result. Third is not bad but when you expect to start first, you are disappointed with anything but. Hopefully we'll be better tomorrow. The 7-Eleven car is a very good race car so hopefully we'll be better tomorrow when it counts."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fifth): "This morning, we worked primarily on our race setup, and I feel we got the Team Penske car very well balanced for the race. However, when it came to qualifying, we weren't able to achieve the kind of speed we wanted. We only did one simulated qualifying run during practice, and I almost lost the car in turn two, so I thought we were going to be bringing out the backup car. All things considered, we're pretty happy that we were able to make a qualifying attempt in our primary car. While we're not starting as far up as we would like, this race is all about your ability to navigate through traffic, and I feel that we're in pretty good shape for tomorrow."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic Panther Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified sixth): "I really want to thank my team for a great job. The weather was unstable and it was hard to read the wind directions but I am so glad that we were able to get the sixth starting position. I've heard that Panther Racing is strong at short ovals, and I am so happy to be able to prove that with a great crew. Some people don't think I am strong at short oval so I want to prove to them that they are wrong tomorrow. I am looking forward to the race."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified seventh): "We've been working a lot on our race car and worked on a qualifying setup during the start of the second group so we'll see where we end up. We were one of the first cars out and we didn't put everything in on our qualifying but for us to pick up that much time, I think we are in good shape."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified eighth): "We struggled in practice before qualifying so I wasn't sure what to expect, but all in all I'm pretty happy with where we qualified. That's actually quite a bit quicker than what we had been the whole time. If anything, I wish we could have got the car in practice to where it is now so we could have got even a little more out of it and gone quicker than that. But, overall, we did well. With the way practice went, I didn't know what we had going into qualifying so I'll take it."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi Panther Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified ninth): "The wind today keeps changing and that's what affected us during qualifications. We've been quick all day and we're not worried about tomorrow. I could have used some more front wing during our run. Like I said, the Delphi car is good and its fast, just like it was last year. It was just the aero balance causing a problem because of the wind. I really like Milwaukee and tomorrow should be a lot of fun."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "I am very disappointed in the qualifying performance. This morning went very well. We were quickest in the morning session. We had some electrical issues that stopped us from running most of the second session. We missed about half of it, so we had to guess the qualifying set up and we guessed wrong. We had too much push in the car and ended up 10th. Hopefully, the Canadian Club car will be better for the race."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "Our setup was not as good as it should have been. Our high-paid engineer (Andy Brown) will have to make some calculated changes for the race setup."

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The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable at 4 p.m. (ET) on June 3 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Road Runner 100 on June 2 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast at 6 p.m. on June 7 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Rick Mears , Tom Sneva , Pat Flaherty , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , Gordon Johncock , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing