IRL: Richmond: Honda qualifying report

Front Row Start for Rice at Richmond Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice continued his run of excellent qualifying performances Friday at Richmond International Raceway, qualifying on the outside of the front row for Saturday night's ...

Front Row Start for Rice at Richmond

Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice continued his run of excellent qualifying performances Friday at Richmond International Raceway, qualifying on the outside of the front row for Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge. It is Rice's fourth front-row starting run in six 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series events, including pole performances at Indy and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Rice's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate, Vitor Meira, also posted a strong qualifying run, and will start 8th, alongside the Honda-powered Dallara of Andretti Green Racing's Bryan Herta. After fighting oversteer during his qualifying run, IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan rounded out the top 10 in his Andretti Green entry, while Texas pole qualifier Dario Franchitti will start from the 12th position.

Rookie points leader Kosuke Matsuura ran his fastest laps of the day in qualifying, and the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing driver will make his first Richmond start from 13th. Also at Richmond for the first time, owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will line up 16th for Saturday night's 250-lap race. Greg Ray and Dan Wheldon encountered handling problems during qualifying and will start 19th and 20th, respectively.

At just three-quarters of a mile in length, Richmond is the shortest and tightest circuit on the 16-race IRL calendar, and the second night race of the season. Saturday's race starts at 8 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN2.

Buddy Rice (#15 Pioneer/Argent Rahal Letterman Racing Honda): "It was a good [qualifying] run for us, we just need to get one spot better. I ran it a little bit too hard into Turns 3-4 on my second lap, and that gave me just a bit of understeer. Other than that, the qualifying lap was great, but the track here is so short that any tiny mistake will keep you off the pole, and that's what happened to us. But I think we're in great shape for the race, and I'm looking forward to another strong run tomorrow night."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira