<pre> BELTERRA RESORT INDY 300 TOP SIX QUALIFIERS Driver Entrant Engine Speed 1. Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 219.191 mph 2. Eliseo Salazar A.J. Foyt Racing Oldsmobile ...
<pre> BELTERRA RESORT INDY 300 TOP SIX QUALIFIERS Driver Entrant Engine Speed 1. Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 219.191 mph 2. Eliseo Salazar A.J. Foyt Racing Oldsmobile 219.067 3. Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 219.031 4. Sarah Fisher Walker Racing Oldsmobile 217.672 5. Jeff Ward A.J. Foyt Racing Oldsmobile 217.540 6. Jeret Schroeder Tri Star Motorsports Oldsmobile 216.554
</pre> Scott Goodyear Captures First IRL Pole; Oldsmobile to Start on Pole for 37th Consecutive IRL Race
SPARTA, Ky - Oldsmobile's updated IRL Aurora V8 propelled Indy Racing Northern Light Series title contender Scott Goodyear to the first pole of his Indy Racing League career today in qualifying for Sunday's Belterra Resort Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Goodyear edged Eliseo Salazar by 14 thousandths of a second with a fast lap of 219.191 mph in Pennzoil Panther Racing's Oldsmobile Dallara. Salazar secured the outside front row starting spot at 219.067 mph in A.J. Foyt's Oldsmobile G-Force.
GM Racing introduced new high-velocity cylinder heads for the IRL Aurora V8 at the inaugural Indy car race at Kentucky Speedway. Oldsmobile engines equipped with the new components dominated qualifying as IRL Aurora V8s powered the 14 fastest qualifiers for the 200-lap, 300-mile race.
Greg Ray, the defending series champion and winner of the last two poles, was the third fastest qualifier at 219.031 mph and will start Team Menard's Oldsmobile Dallara on the inside of the second row. Ray will start alongside Sarah Fisher, the fastest rookie driver, who qualified fourth at 217.672 mph.
"Winning three points for the pole certainly helped our chances for the championship," said Goodyear, 41, of Carmel, Ind. "This is the first time we've come to a race thinking about a qualifying setup; usually we qualify our race car. We have to chase the points if we're going to have a shot at the championship. We have a lot to learn because this is a new track for everybody - not just the teams and drivers but also the chassis, tire, and engine manufacturers.
"The engine was right at top rpm and performed at its peak," Goodyear noted. "I can feel the power that Speedway Engine Development has found. I knew the engine was strong; my hat's off to the guys at Speedway."
Goodyear, third in the championship standings coming in to the season's penultimate race, trailed points leader Buddy Lazier by 33 points. The three bonus points Goodyear earned for the pole have trimmed Lazier's lead to 30. Lazier, the fastest driver in Friday's practice, qualified Hemelgarn Racing's Delta/Coors Oldsmobile Dallara seventh at 216.546 mph.
Eliseo Salazar will start on the front row for the second time this season. "It was a perfect lap," said the Chilean. "I visualized it for an hour, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I hit all my marks." Salazar's teammate Jeff Ward took the fifth qualifying spot.
Greg Ray had only a single qualifying lap after his car failed tech inspection and had to go to the back of the line. "The car was a nano-inch too low," he explained. "We only had one flying lap, and we had set up the car to run quick on the second lap. Qualifying third is a great effort for the team, but I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't disappointed that we're not on the pole. We've had a lot of changes on the team, and we're working on chemistry and getting to know each other."
Oldsmobile is racing for its 36th IRL victory in Sunday's Belterra Resort Indy 300. Oldsmobile has won all 15 IRL races contested to date on 1.5-mile superspeedways.
The Belterra Resort Indy 300 is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 27. The 200-lap, 300-mile race will be televised live by ESPN and broadcast live on the Indy Racing Radio Network.
OLDSMOBILE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
Sarah Fisher, Walker Racing Cummins Special Oldsmobile Dallara, fastest rookie driver, fastest driver in Open Test, qualified fourth: "I'm very happy at this point. Derrick Walker has put a lot of effort into this team, and he needs a payoff like this. Being a rookie driver on a new team in the IRL, everything is new to us. We're gaining knowledge every time we go out on the track. Our main goal is to finish this race."
Buddy Lazier, Hemelgarn Racing Delta/Coors Oldsmobile Dallara, IRL points leader, fastest driver in Friday's qualifying session, qualified seventh: "We slowed down a little from practice, and I wish we'd had a different gear for qualifying because the track conditions were slower this afternoon. The air temperature was hotter and the naturally aspirated engines don't pull as hard in the heat. Every change that you make to the engine in this format, you can really feel. The new engine pieces we tested with last week and are running today have been a major gain. I feel the power everywhere - bottom end, top end, everywhere. Power is a driver's best friend!"