IRL: Phoenix Jeret Schroeder qualifying notes

Press release from McCormack Motorsports Contact: Linda Mansfield, 75534.2635@CompuServe.com Schroeder Qualifies 13th at Phoenix PHOENIX, March 22 - Rookie Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified even better than Buddy Lazier and will...

Press release from McCormack Motorsports Contact: Linda Mansfield, 75534.2635@CompuServe.com

Schroeder Qualifies 13th at Phoenix

PHOENIX, March 22 - Rookie Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified even better than Buddy Lazier and will start alongside the Indy 500 winner tomorrow in the Indy Racing League's Phoenix 200 at Phoenix Int'l Raceway.

Schroeder earned the 13th starting position in time trials Saturday and his Purity Farms/Sunnyside Foods/Alfa Laval/Team Losi G-Force Olds Aurora No. 30 will start inside of Lazier in row seven when the race gets the green flag Sunday. The car is prepared and owned by Dennis and Felicia McCormack of McCormack Motorsports, Avon, Ind., and sports Goodyear tires.

Sunday's race will be the 27-year-old driver's second Indy car start. He has competed on the road course here at PIR in another type of race car and tested his IRL car here in February, but Sunday's race will be his first one on PIR's 1-mile oval.

Tony Stewart won the pole followed by Jim Guthrie, Scott Goodyear, Arie Luyendyk and Buzz Calkins. Tomorrow's race will be telecast live on ABC at 2 p.m. local time or 4 p.m. Eastern.

Schroeder's fastest lap in qualifying was 22.136 seconds or 162.631 mph, which is the fastest he has ever gone here.

"I was hoping for a top-15 qualifying position, so I'm real happy," Schroeder said. "I was 19th in practice here this morning and we picked up almost a second more than we were running here Friday. Today in qualifying everything just came together and the car felt really comfortable."

On Friday he turned 99 laps here, with his best lap a 22.817 (157.777 mph) in the morning session.

Phoenix is touted as the world's fastest 1-mile oval, but Schroeder said it wasn't hard to adapt to the speed. "It all depends on how comfortable you feel in the car, and today I was comfortable," he said. "It had a bad push on Friday and we made some pretty big changes to the car between Friday and Saturday. Unlike some of the other teams, we didn't worry about our qualifying set-up too much. Instead, we are focusing on the race set-up, because it's going to be an endurance test. Whoever has a consistent, comfortable car all day and can stay out of the accidents and hold up for the entire distance is going to be in good shape, and that's our goal. We want to get experience. Consistency is the key."

Sunday's race is the final IRL tune-up before the Indy 500 on May 25, the world's largest single-day sporting event.

Schroeder lost several laps in the pits Saturday morning in practice while his car's rotor was being replaced. It looked serious for awhile, but Schroeder said actually it was only "a minor deal."

The temperatures have been in the nineties here at PIR. Reportedly the track temperature in qualifying was 116 degrees at 12:30 p.m. and 124 degrees by 1:30 p.m. Schroeder was the fifteenth driver to take his qualifying run; the order was determined in a draw Friday night. When he made his run he was seventh fastest for awhile, but ended up 13th when everyone had qualified. His fastest lap was actually his first one; the other qualifying lap was clocked at 22.166 (162.411 mph).

When he tested here in February, his fastest lap was unofficially 157.825 mph.

Schroeder passed his rookie test and competed in his first IRL race in January at Walt Disney World (Fla.) Speedway, finishing 14th.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Buddy Lazier , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Jeret Schroeder