IRL: Pikes Peak Saturday qualifying notes

INDY RACING LEAGUE QUALIFYING CHRONOLOGY Noon =97 Temperature was 91 degrees and track temperature was 148, according to Firestone tire engineers. Time Qual Car Driver First Lap ...


Noon =97 Temperature was 91 degrees and track temperature was 148, according to Firestone tire engineers.

Time Qual Car Driver First Lap Second Lap Speed Of Day Attpt No. Time Speed Time Speed Rank

12:06 1 4 Kenny Brack 20.743/173.553 20.773/173.302 1 (breaks track record of 22.963, 157.205 set June 7 by Troy Regier in a supermodified) (breaks record for new IRL cars on one-mile ovals of 170.012 by Tony Stewart March 22 at Phoenix) 12:08 2 30 Robbie Groff 21.122/170.438 21.511/167.356 2 12:12 3 91 Buddy Lazier 21.009/171.355 20.985/171.551 2 12:15 =97 Temperature 93 degrees, track temperature 125 degrees from= Firestone tire engineers. 12:16 4 10 Johnny Unser 21.754/165.487 21.813/165.039 4 12:19 5 18 Billy Boat 21.057/170.965 21.040/171.103 3 12:22 6 97 Greg Ray 21.178/169.988 21.323/168.832 5 12:26 7 2 Tony Stewart 20.584/174.893 20.569/175.021 1 (breaks track record set 20 minutes earlier by Kenny Brack) (breaks record for new IRL cars on one-mile ovals set 20 minutes earlier by Kenny Brack) 12:29 8 17 Affonso Giaffone 20.978/171.608 21.115/170.495 3 12:30 =97 Temperature 91 degrees, track temperature 117 degrees from= Firestone tire engineers. 12:31 9 21 Roberto Guerrero 21.039/171.111 20.717/173.770 2 12:36 10 5 Arie Luyendyk 21.006/171.380 20.886/172.364 4 12:38 11 51 Eddie Cheever Jr. 21.018/171.282 21.041/171.095 7 12:41 12 1 Scott Sharp 20.441/176.117 20.485/175.738 1 (breaks track record set 15 minutes earlier by Tony Stewart) (breaks record for new IRL cars on one-mile ovals set 15 minutes earlier by Tony Stewart) 12:45 p.m. =97 Temperature 90 degrees, track temperature 114 degrees from Firestone tire engineers. 12:46 13 28 Mark Dismore 22.140/162.602 22.140/162.602 13 12:48 14 40 Dr, Jack Miller 21.785/165.251 21.776/165.320 13 12:51 15 7 Eliseo Salazar 21.018/171.282 21.219/169.659 9 12:53 16 14 Davey Hamilton 20.704/173.879 20.704/173.879 3 12:57 17 33 Jimmy Kite 20.977/171.617 20.963/171.731 7 1 p.m. 18 77 Stephan Gregoire 21.068/170.875 20.978/171.608 9 1:02 19 6 Scott Goodyear 20.663/174.224 20.671/174.157 3 1:05 20 22 Vincenzo Sospiri 21.592/166.728 21.257/169.356 17 1:07 21 12 Buzz Calkins 20.870/172.496 20.892/172.315 7

Scott Sharp's best previous start was fourth at both the 1996 and 1997 IRL races at Walt Disney World. Scott Sharp is the first new IRL pole winner since Richie Hearn last August at New Hampshire. Tony Stewart's front row start is his seventh in IRL competition and sixth in a row. Affonso Giaffone's starting position of 10th is his best. Giaffone's best previous was 14th at Indy, =9197. Davey Hamilton's start of fourth is a career IRL best. His best previous start was fifth last fall at Las Vegas. Scott Goodyear's start of third is his fourth consecutive top-five start.

12:30 p.m. Update on driver Jim Guthrie from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL medical director: Guthrie has been admitted to Penrose Hospital for further evaluation of a thoracic spinal fracture that will sideline him for six to eight weeks. He is expected to be released Sunday from Penrose Hospital.


ROBERTO GUERRERO: "We went high out of Turn 4 on the way to the green and I almost blew it. It took a lap to get back up to speed. It's easier running up front when you're in the back. You're working hard with no rewards. It's nice to be in front again (big smile)." NOTE: This is Guerrero's first top-five start with the new IRL cars. He qualified fourth at Las Vegas in 1996 with the previous formula.

DR. JACK MILLER: "We were flat-out on Lap 2. The Nissan is reliable but down on power. We can't run with the leaders. We're just here to finish."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: "We've been struggling since yesterday. We have one practice session to set up the car and we were flat-out. It's going to be hard to pass on a one-mile track when you're flat-out."

BUDDY LAZIER: "I think there's more speed in it. The team is doing a great job. Unfortunately we missed half of the practice session yesterday but I still think we'll be in good shape for the race."

SCOTT SHARP: "I can't believe it. It feels great. We changed a lot yesterday. I thought the best we'd be is third. Being on the pole is wonderful." (About sitting out twoi races): "Sitting out for a couple races rekindled my fire." (About medical staff): "IRL has a strong medical team and it was their decision to have me sit out and they're the experts. My goal was to have the car almost loose but not quite. It's a great race car."

DAVEY HAMILTON: "I was not comfortable this morning. We made a lot of suspension changes and didn't have time for practice. Scott ran that setup this morning so I knew it was good. I went for it right away and heated up the tires too quickly. But I needed to know how it felt."

BUZZ CALKINS: "I'm a bit disappointed. It's not bad but it's not great either. I do have a great team. We're running a harder compound tire today and I think that'll be better for the race."

TONY STEWART: "I was struggling a little off of Turn 4. It was pretty loose. I thought the weather would play a factor but these clouds have brought the temperatures down nicely." (About who his competitors might be): "Kite's a rookie but he's doing a great job and I think there are at least half a dozen guys out here that have a great chance. We've got great equipment and great people. Now we need a little help from lady luck."

MARK DISMORE: "Actually, I wish we were starting out byesterday with the car as it is now. Then we could've fine-tuned it today. Instead it =91tuned us' yesterday (accident in Turn 4). We're struggling with a bad push. The car is good going into and through the middle of the corner but if you try and hustle it out of the corner, you flat run out of race track on the exit. We're hoping the tire stagger will fix it. We'll have it back to being a good race car for tomorrow. It's going to be a competitive race and I'm looking to run up there with the fast guys."

BILLY BOAT: "I'm please with the run. The Klipsch PDM Racing team did a great job. This is the quickest we've run all weekend. We qualified with more of a racing setup since we didn't have the time to work on a qualifying setup. We're new working together and it takes time to click. If we had even one more day, we would've been quicker." (On race Sunday): "We're going to try to go to the front and stay with the leaders all day. This is a really good race car."

KENNY BRACK: "The car is running very well. The crew has done a superb job." (About the facility): "The facility is very bumps, which is unusual for any track. For qualifying, I was flat out and had a good setup. We have been quick everywhere we've gone this year and the car is runninng good. With more laps, we could've probably trimmed it out more. I hope we're in the top five."

GREG RAY: "The car was very stable, too easy to drive. Changes we made to the car were way too conservative. I have no one-mile experience so this is a big jump to a small track. All other teams have experience on a one- mile. Great car, just not as fast as we wanted to be."

ARIE LUYENDYK: "The accident yesterday mentally put me behind more than anything. It's the best lap we had all weekend and I had a little push. Turn 4 is smoother and I don't know why it's been a problem for some of us. Turn 1 and 2 is a little bumpier." (After Sharp's run): "Hey, Scott, did you hold your breath for two laps?" Sharp replied, "Oh, yeah!"

ELISEO SALAZAR: "For now we're concentrating on the race. It's the best time we had all weekend. We've been running Race Day setup all week." NOTE: Salazar said he was on the rev limiter from the start/finish line to Turn 1. "I knew we were on the rev limiter but the next gear was too long. I went to a higher gear on the second lap and we slowed down. We had planned to change gears between practice and qualifying but due to the shortening of the schedule, we were unable to."

SCOTT GOODYEAR: "We had a good run. We were expecting cloud cover and then it became bright and sunny. I thought I had a shot at the pole. This is a great facility, very smooth...little rough at exit of Turn 2. It's a very wide track and I think you'll see a good race. We have a good race setup."

VINCENZO SOSPIRI: "The car go very fast. It was good. I have chosen harder tires so it goes a little slower. I focused on the race setup. You don't win the race with qualifying. I always focus on the race setup."

ROBBIE GROFF: "It's outstanding to be here with McCormack Motorsports. I hope to turn more races with this team. The chemistry is great. We'll see if we go to the next one. We are still on a race-by-race situation. I think we'll be able to make Charlotte."

JOHNNY UNSER: "We've been having problems during the week but we made the right decisions for qualifying. The track is really good, smooth and wide. Nothing major wrong with the car. We'll just tweak on it for tomorrow. It's great to be in Colorado since it's the original spot of the Unsers and this means a lot to me."

AFFONSO GIAFFONE: "I'm happy with the car. This afternoon, we'll work with full fuel loads. The sun going down (behind the clouds) probably meant a half a mile an hour faster."

JIMMY KITE: "The car's a hair tight but I have a good car underneath me. We didn't necessarily set up for qualifying but for an overall weekend. I'm working with really good people. Myself and the crew are getting to know each other and things are looking fine. I have come quite a way in a short period of time."

SCOTT SHARP (press conference): (about qualifying): "I looked at the dash and thought maybe it was wrong. But no, this is great for the Conseco team and for A.J. A.J. made a lot of changes last night. You name it, we changed it. We got going better this morning, didn't think I ever got a whole lap together. But we were able to put it together. We tried a lot of different things yesterday and today. I felt we would have been a good top-four or top-five and this surprised me. We felt we were a session away from being a pole car. To get my first pole and winning it now on my comeback means a lot. We were one of the top teams that didn't test here and had a learning curve yesterday. You have to balance things here and build momentum and carry it through the corner." (About the race): "Track position is important. I think you'll see a lot of side-by-side and nose-to-tail action. Starting up front is great because you don't get a lot of tubulence and traffic. I don't think you'll see anybody slow down a lot. It will be good to separate yourself from some of the passing and moves at the start. This race is going to be 15-18 cars all together. We might run three-abreast at times, as windows open. Restarts and starts, it may be two or three together. You'll see tight racing."

A.J. FOYT (press conference): "We ran the hard Goodyear tires. Maybe our luck is going to change. We really worked on the race setup because the race means more than qualifying. We did run good this morning. I made a few more tweaks and it seems everything went our way. Scotty coming back after being injured, I think he did a terrific job and told him to take it easy. I told him to let the car do all the work. We got the car working good and he did it. Tell you about Scotty, when it's time to push the button when the car is working, he'll do it."

KENNY BRACK (press conference): "The car performed great but I wish we had a little more speed today. It's great to be the fastest rookie again and to finish in the top 10 of qualifying. But all of that doesn't matter on Race Day. My crew has done a great job of getting the car ready. Now, it's time to race."

Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA) will present a check for $2,000 to Children's Hospital of Denver Sunday during pre-race ceremonies for the Samsonite 200. The funds will be used to provide infant car seats to needy families in Colorado. This donation is part of CARA's "Buckle Up Baby" campaign which is in its fourth year. Through this program, funds are donated in each city holding an Indy Racing League race throughout the season. The recipient was selected by the management of Pikes Peak International Raceway. Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary was founded in 1981 to help promote a ffamily atmosphere in motorsports and to serve the racing community through charitable work.

Last month, the American Red Cross and Indy Racing League announced an alliance designed to increase spectator safety both during and after a race. Red Cross chapters, including the Pikes Peak chapter in Colorado Springs, are part of the program. More than 60 local Red Cross volunteers and staff from the Pikes Peak chapter are on hand at PPIR to help race fans prevent and prepare for emergencies, such as missing children and heat- related emergencies. It was announced in the press building today that Nortel, sponsor of Scott Goodyear with Treadway Racing, had matched $10,000 in contributions by its employees and a check for $20,000 will be presented to the American Red Cross during pre-race ceremonies Sunday.

Led by Samsonite 200 pole winner Scott Sharp, Goodyear tires were on seven of the top 10 cars in the field for Sunday's IRL race. A Goodyear release stated that, of the 14 qualifiers on Goodyear tires, the field is fairly evenly split between the primary and optional tires brought to Pikes Peak. Sharp said, regarding primary vs. optionals, he "found almost the same amount of grip."

At 3:20 p.m., Blueprint Racing issued a news release saying that, in the aftermath of driver/co-owner Jim Guthrie's accident in this morning's practice session, the team has decided not to enter a vehicle in Sunday's Samsonite 200. From the release: "The team immediately began to prepare its backup vehicle in the chance Guthrie would be cleared to drive tomorrow. The team also consulted with driver Tyce Carlson, who drove Blueprint's backup vehicle for PDM Racing in the True Value 500 (at Texas) but decided in the interest of safety, it would not enter the vehicle. =91It was a case where= we did not feel we had enough time and resources to properly prepare the car,' said Ed Rachanski, owner of Blueprint Racing. =91It's not fair to the rest= of the field or a driver to put a car in the race that we don't feel will be the best we can put out there.' Guthrie said, while resting at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, =91My back hurts but I'm really just disappointed for Jacuzzi and the team. We thought we were going to be really strong tomorrow. I'm still not sure what happened.'"

Indy Racing League Final Practice Notes:

3:44 p.m. =97 GREEN. #10 Unser first out. 3:47 p.m. =97 #4 Brack turned a lap at 169.260, fastest of session. 3:49 p.m. =97 #7 Salazar turned a lap at 169.093, second fastest of session. 3:51 p.m. =97 #97 Ray turned a lap at 169.980, fastest of session. #4 Brack turned a lap at 170.924, fastest of session. #33 Kite turned a lap at 169.515, third fastest of session. 3:52 p.m. =97 #2 Stewart turned a lap at 169.683, third fastest of session. 3:52 p.m. =97 YELLOW, track inspection. 3:58 p.m. =97 GREEN. 4:01 p.m. =97 #33 Kite turned a lap at 171.038, fastest of session. 4:03 p.m. =97 #97 Ray turned a lap at 170.754, third fastest of session. 4:13 p.m. =97 #97 Ray turned a lap at 171.600, fastest of session. 4:15 p.m. =97 END OF SESSION.

The Samsonite 200 marks the 10th consecutive IRL race in which a driver is making his first start in Indianapolis-style cars. Jimmy Kite is the lone driver in the field making his Indy-type debut.=20

IRL Post-Final Practice Quotes:

KENNY BRACK: "Things are okay. I was caught by the weather in qualifying. If we could've vhad a big cloud, we could've been a bit quicker. I've really been running good like this since after qualifying in Indy. We changed the setup for practice. I hope to see the checkered flag tomorrow. The speed hasn't been the's been getting to the checkered flag."

GREG RAY: "It's a beautiful track. It's unfortunate we just missed it in qualifying. We haven't had the testing our competition has had here. We didn't run in orlando and Phoenix like the other shave. We went straight to Indy, then Dallas. The setups are really different. The car was really too good. We made it too conservative. The car was easy to drive, just really slow. I want to keep my nosse clean and work up through the pack. It's a real confidence booster for the team when you qualify well. We want to qualify on the sharp end of the grid and we aren't happy unless we do that. We really weren't happy with sixth at Texas. We were looking for the front row. Sharp and Stewart did a helluva good job out there. Those were some big numbers they turned."

JIMMY KITE: "I'm ready to a good one (car)."

After the final practice, an autograph session was held in the garage area with all IRL drivers. Fansa were lined up three deep at some of the autograph tables.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Kenny Brack , Richie Hearn , Tyce Carlson , Johnny Unser , Vincenzo Sospiri , Jack Miller