IRL: Phoenix: Firestone qualifying notes

It's Helio and Sam on the Front Row Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves set a new track record (20.0124 seconds, 179.888 mph) at Phoenix International Raceway as he earned the pole for Sunday's Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200.

It's Helio and Sam on the Front Row

Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves set a new track record (20.0124 seconds, 179.888 mph) at Phoenix International Raceway as he earned the pole for Sunday's Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200. He will share the front row with Pennzoil Panther Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. (20.0295 seconds, 179.735 mph). Note: This is the ninth pole Castroneves has won on Firestone Firehawks in the last three years.

Quote from Al Speyer, Firestone Motorsports Executive Director: "Any time you bring a new tire to an event, you're always eager to see how it will perform on the actual race weekend. Yesterday the drivers accumulated more than 2,000 trouble-free miles in practice, and we heard the improved grip was a real plus in setting up the cars. Today we saw the Firestone Firehawks contribute to great speeds as new track records were set in qualifying. There's an obvious battle shaping up between Sam Hornish and Helio Castroneves; they're both smart, aggressive drivers with plenty of support in the pits. We think the fans are going to see a tremendous race tomorrow and we're very pleased to be a part of another great Indy Racing League event."

Quote from Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves (Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was solid in the front; the car was solid in the back. The tires seem to be holding very well, they were in just as good condition at the end of a run as they were in the beginning. Hopefully we'll be in good shape for the race."

Quote from Pennzoil Panther driver Sam Hornish (Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We feel pretty good and we're really excited about how the car is running. Firestone brought a brand new tire for this race and after we ran with it we got faster than we were last year, so we're very pleased with it. (Speaking on the windy conditions) I hope it's not going to be like this all year; we've had it the first two races and it makes it a little tougher, but we're doing OK."

Firestone Performance Award: "The Firestone Racing program will present a $10,000 bonus check to the IRL driver leading at the end of lap 58 in Sunday's event. The award celebrates Firestone being in all 58 IRL events conducted since the first competition in 1996 - the only tire manufacturer to do so. In pre-race ceremonies Sunday, Firestone will present a $10,000 check to Chip Ganassi Racing driver Jeff Ward, who was leading at the end of lap 57 in the 57th IRL race two weekends ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Note of Sympathy: The Firestone Racing program extends its sympathy to the family and friends of Team Penske crew member Gary Buckner, who passed away last week.

Morning practice temperatures ranged from 66 to 73 degrees track and from 58 to 63 degrees ambient (F). Afternoon qualifying temperatures ranged from 85 to 101 degrees track and from 63 to 69 degrees ambient (F).

-firestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Ward , Helio Castroneves , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing