IRL: Schmidt Racing Kansas qualifying

It's really, really hot here! Damn hot! John Ehrie, ace tire man, reported that as of the hour for qualification the track temperature was 140 degrees, the ambient temperature was 103.3, and the humidity was 46%. Did I mention that it's hot...

It's really, really hot here! Damn hot! John Ehrie, ace tire man, reported that as of the hour for qualification the track temperature was 140 degrees, the ambient temperature was 103.3, and the humidity was 46%. Did I mention that it's hot here. I mean really hot!

As planned we did an engine change last night to prepare for a qualification practice this morning. Firestone has been working closely with all the teams as the temperatures for some tire tread surfaces will exceed 212 degrees. In an effort to prevent the tires from blistering, the plan this morning was to scuff three sets of tires in simulated qualification runs. The practice was coming along well and as we were moving up the charts, Jaques called in that the engine was tightening up.

The bad news, the engine would have to be replaced before qualifying. The good news, we had planned to change it after qualifying anyway...so the work for the evening is now done.

With a new engine, and no shake down run, anything could have happened during Jaques attempt. But to his credit, he put his foot down and got everything out of it. To the crew's credit, "This run was all about the crew. We blew an engine at the end of the last practice session and had to do an engine change in the last several hours. The work that this crew does is unbelievable. For a driver to come out and stand on the gas and not have to worry about leaks or something breaking loose is tremendous. This group of guys has a huge heart, and I have all the confidence in the world in them. The effort today I think demonstrated that," said Jaques.

We will start tomorrow's race, just behind big brother Buddy in the 12th position, outside row number 7. We don't have as many horses under the hood as we would like, but tomorrows race will be hot and very tough on the drivers. Although we have all the faith in Firestone, if a crew misses the set up on a car every so slightly the tires will become a factor. Team Manager, Larry Nash is confident that Jaques will have a solid car under him tomorrow and even more confident that "he'll drive the wheels off of it, just because that's what Jaques does every time he puts his helmet on."

The inaugural Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway will see the green flag at 12 noon central time and will appear on ABC Sports (Live) at 1pm EDT.

-SSR

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Series IndyCar