IRL: Phoenix Harrington qualifying report

Gives Infiniti Its Best Starting Spot Ever: Harrington Earns Eighth Starting Spot For Tomorrow's IRL Race at Phoenix PHOENIX, March 27 - Scott Harrington ran the best lap he's run here all...

Gives Infiniti Its Best Starting Spot Ever:

Harrington Earns Eighth Starting Spot For Tomorrow's IRL Race at Phoenix

PHOENIX, March 27 - Scott Harrington ran the best lap he's run here all weekend right when it counted, earning the eighth starting spot for tomorrow's MCI WorldCom 200 Pep Boys Indy Racing League event at Phoenix International Raceway during qualifying Saturday afternoon.

He'll start on the outside of the fourth row when the race gets the green flag on Fox Sports Network live at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow.

Harrington, in Harrington Motorsports' Invincible Sportswear/Abel Construction Co./Vector Technologies/Titleist/Orangewood RV and Marine Dallara Infiniti No. 66, posted a lap at 20.798 seconds or 173.094 mph on his second lap. It was not only the Indianapolis resident's best qualifying run ever in Indy car competition but it was also the best qualifying results ever for a Nissan Infiniti engine in Pep Boys IRL competition. (The previous bests for Infiniti were two tenths posted by Robert Guerrero last year and Mike Groff in 1997 at Phoenix. Guerrero was the second-best Infiniti in Saturday's qualifying, as he was 11th fastest out of the field of 28.)

"I'm ecstatic," Harrington said. "Our car is great and we have the best guys out there.

"On the first lap I didn't get into turn one quite right, so on the second lap I decided to haul it in a little heavier, and it worked out great!" he said of his fastest lap, which came as just two other competitors were left on pit road to take their two-lap qualifying runs.

"This team didn't even exist at Christmas, but in a short period of time we've put together one of the best teams out there," he added. "We were able to test here at Phoenix and it really helped. We're finally getting a chance to show what we can do.

"Our Infiniti engine is running great; I have plenty of power," he added. "We were 10th in practice yesterday and 13th this morning, and now to get eighth in qualifying is great."

Harrington said his team's strategy was to focus on its race set-up from the moment the car was unloaded from its transporter. "We have a great race car," he said. "We were having a little bit of trouble getting though turn two, so we made a little adjustment, put fresh Firestone tires on the car, and it worked out great."

Although this is Harrington's first Pep Boys IRL race on Phoenix's fast 1-mile oval, he won a Can-Am race here five years ago and he also won his last race, finishing first in the Sports class in the Motorola Cup race at Sebring, Fla., last Friday.

"Maybe tomorrow we can get some sort of a three-peat going here," Harrington added with a smile. "But really, we just want to run comfortably and try to finish. That's the name of the game."

Harrington's father and team co-owner Gene Harrington was pleased too. "Fantastic!" he said, summarizing the whole day.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Harrington , Gene Harrington