Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira will start on the front row in Saturday evening's Firestone Indy 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway. Rice has earned four career poles while substituting for Kenny Brack who injured in...
Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira will start on the front row in Saturday evening's Firestone Indy 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway. Rice has earned four career poles while substituting for Kenny Brack who injured in the season finale at Texas last year.
Rice edged Meira for the pole by three one-hundredths of a second. "It's super close again," said Rice, "that means tomorrow night's going to be an excellent race."
Meira, who was the first driver to qualify, sat patiently as each driver took their best shot at knocking the Brazilian from the top spot. "We thought we had a good shot for pole," said Meira. "Being the first one out is not the most comfortable position. We've had a good car since the beginning. We were first place in the first practice and also first place in the second practice."
While it took Meira's teammate to knock him from the pole, the Andretti Green Racing team, which is also powered by Honda engines, came close. The Andretti Green trio of Bryan Herta, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan, will start third through fifth, respectively, handing Honda the top five starting spots. Herta nearly matched Meira's effort, missing the Brazilian's mark by 14 ten-thousandths of a second.
"My run was good," said Herta. "I had a little bit of trouble getting up to speed. The XM Satellite Radio car was sliding a little bit, even on my first qualifying lap, but then the grip came up on the second lap. Unfortunately, I was in the wrong gear on the first lap and I shifted on the second lap, which I needed to do. But, man, if I'd have been in the right gear, I think we'd have had them."
Wheldon, who was disappointed at not getting the pole, said, "I'm happy with the speed that I did, and I know we've got a good race car."
Kanaan wasn't quite as pleased. "We just didn't find what we needed today but we'll turn our attention to the race and see what we can do. Kanaan currently leads the series points championship 275-247 over his teammate Dan Wheldon.