IRL: Richmond: Friday qualifying report

FRANCHITTI STARTS FIRST AFTER RICHMOND QUALIFYING RAINOUT RICHMOND, Va., Friday, June 29, 2007 -- IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti will lead the field for the June 30 SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM after rain washed out ...

FRANCHITTI STARTS FIRST AFTER RICHMOND QUALIFYING RAINOUT

RICHMOND, Va., Friday, June 29, 2007 -- IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti will lead the field for the June 30 SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM after rain washed out qualifying at Richmond International Raceway for the second consecutive year.

The grid was set on entrant points, which rewarded Franchitti for his consistency through eight races.

The IndyCar Series points leader will be joined on the front row by teammate Tony Kanaan, who was quickest in the combined morning/afternoon practice sessions (15.6093 seconds; 172.974 mph).

Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (third) and Dan Wheldon (fourth) make up Row 2, while Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves will start on Row 3.

Hornish posted the second-fastest lap (15.6721 seconds, 172 281 mph) during practice while Marco Andretti, who will start 14th, was the third fastest (172.091 mph). Vitor Meira and Milka Duno will start the race in backup machines after being involved in separate accidents in practice.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006) and Dario Franchitti (2007).

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Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2006), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

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Drivers entered in the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM have combined for 80 IndyCar Series victories, 76 IndyCar Series pole positions and 1,167 IndyCar Series starts.

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Milka Duno (SAMAX Motorsport) is the only Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year candidate expected to compete in the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM. Duno leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year point standings over Phil Giebler (Playa Del Racing) 57-10.

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IndyCar Series drivers Tomas Scheckter, Scott Dixon and Vitor Meira among the many people desperate to get their hands on Apple's iPhone this weekend. Dixon is known among his driving peers of getting the latest gadget, while Scheckter recently purchased an Apple iBook, laptop and traded in his Sidekick in hopes of getting the Apple's first cell phone offering. Scheckter has even asked an employee to see if he could get the phone while in Richmond.

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I really like the Apple products. I recently purchased an Apple Laptop and love the simplicity. Since then I have changed my whole office over to Apple technology, and I want the new iPhone because I believe I will be able to sync everything to my phone much easier."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (Are you getting an iPhone this weekend?) "If I can get someone to wait in line for it."

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Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon is cheering on his countrymen Team New Zealand in the America's Cup finals.

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I have been following the success of Team New Zealand. I usually think sailing is silly, but at this level it is pretty cool. I have met a lot of the New Zealand guys on previous America's Cups, and they are very talented. It's the same as what IndyCar Series or Formula 1 would be to racing." (Do you sail?): "When I am at the wheel of a boat, I prefer to have a motor."

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SUNTRUST INDY CHALLENGE QUALIFYING RAINOUT QUOTES:

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award winner): "I'm pretty happy that it rained because we didn't even get a (qualifying) simulation in today. We were focused on the car and some imbalance issues, so we're trying to get those figured out. I'm pretty happy that we didn't have to make a qualifying attempt. It's good to be starting up front. As far as the day went, we worked with changing conditions and just trying to find that balance that we need for tomorrow's race. It seems that maybe we're finding that the cars are changing more with the conditions and with the laps then previous years. I showed up on Wednesday morning complaining about the heat and humidity. It's nice that is going to be a little bit cooler for us and for the fans."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts second): "We've been working pretty hard on the setup together and I think our team has a good history on short tracks. It's pretty good. I think Dario and I were not as happy as Marco (Andretti) and Danica (Patrick) as far as race cars - we have a little bit more work to do. Our starting positions will really help us and that's a big thing here, although you can go backwards pretty fast. I'm looking forward to finishing this race because I haven't the last few years. After a tough weekend in Iowa, I'm looking forward to having solid results so we can carry the momentum into the next few races."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts fifth): "It's too bad that the rain cancelled qualifying. We made some good progress throughout the practice sessions, and I thought we definitely had a shot at the pole. The Team Penske car feels pretty good on long runs, and I think we have a solid race car for tomorrow. Hopefully things will play out in our favor and we'll be able to notch a second consecutive win here in Richmond."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts sixth): "We were struggling a bit with the setup of the Team Penske car today. For some reason, we weren't able to find the same speed and comfort in the car as we have in the past here. However, I'm confident that my crew will be able to take a look at the telemetry data from today's practice sessions and will be able to give me a good car for the race. Hopefully, everyone will exercise good judgment tomorrow and we'll have a clean race. After a difficult stretch for the No. 3 crew, I would like nothing more than a strong finish here at Richmond.''

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal Letterman Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts seventh): "The Patron Rahal Letterman Racing car rolled off the truck very well. With the fear of rain, like most in the field, we worked on race setup for much of the day, which was the wise thing to do. We seem to have a strong pace when we put new tires on the car and tried to go fast. I think we could have done well in qualifying, but we'll just have to show it tomorrow night."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts eighth): "We knew there was a good chance it would rain at some point today, so I'm just glad we got all of our practice sessions in before it came. We worked really hard on the Motorola car and made pretty big improvements to it despite fighting through a couple different problems during the day. We'll talk about it some more before tomorrow night and see how much better we can make it."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts ninth): "We're looking into the failure to see what happened (when we crashed). It's frustrating because we are very confident about this weekend. I think this is a setback for us, but Panther Racing is all about overcoming problems like this. I'm actually not worried about it. I would have liked to qualify just to get some laps in the backup car. It's odd not knowing what you're going to have going into Turn 1, but I've got enough confidence in (race engineer) Bill Pappas and (team owner) John Barnes to know the Delphi car is going to be great tomorrow."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts 10th): "Of course, I always wish we could qualify, but since my practice times were not as quick as I would have liked them today, at least we'll be starting in the top 10. So we will just look at what my teammates and I did today and put our best effort on the track tomorrow night. In the meantime, I've got my new iPhone to setup and play with so that will be the perfect way to spend a rainy evening."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts 15th, but was 10th in practice): "It's unfortunate that qualifying got rained out, but I am confident in my car because we ran well today, so that's good. It's disappointing that we have to start further back because of points, which is a place we shouldn't be in the first place, but we are. And, this is a track you don't want to start in the back at, but like I said, the Hitachi Power Tools car was pretty good today so we'll see what we can do tomorrow night. I just wish we didn't have to work so hard driving from further back than we should.

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starts 17th, but was ninth in practice): "I was really looking forward to qualifying. I thought we were going to have another good run this week. It's just too bad for Ed (Carpenter) and I because we had pretty good cars today and now since qualifying has rained out, we've got to start by points which isn't going to help us much. The guys worked hard again this week to give me another great car and they did, so I'm looking forward to driving in tomorrow night's race. I just wish we could get started from a little better position."

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (All times local): @6:15 p.m. SunTrust Indy Challenge pre-race @7:30 p.m. SunTrust Indy Challenge (250 laps/187.5 miles), ESPN (Live) @NOTE: Schedule subject to change.

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The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast at 7:30 p.m. (ET) by ESPN and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Corning Twin 100s on July 7-8 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (ET) on July 12. ESPN2's coverage of the Iowa 100 will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on July 3

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Phil Giebler , John Barnes , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing