TOYOTA SWEEPS FRONT ROW IN SONOMA QUALIFYING Rookie Ryan Briscoe (Target Pioneer Toyota) captured the pole position and Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske Toyota) gave Toyota a sweep of the front row in qualifying for Sunday's Argent...
TOYOTA SWEEPS FRONT ROW IN SONOMA QUALIFYING
Rookie Ryan Briscoe (Target Pioneer Toyota) captured the pole position and Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske Toyota) gave Toyota a sweep of the front row in qualifying for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway. Today's qualifying marked the second consecutive IndyCar Series race that Toyota-powered cars have captured both front-row starting positions.
- Today's front row sweep is the fourth of the season for Toyota after recording similar feats at Richmond, Milwaukee and Pikes Peak.
- Ryan Briscoe's pole position is the fifth for Toyota this season and the manufacturer's 21st in IndyCar Series competition in 46 events.
- The pole is the first for Ryan Briscoe in IndyCar Series competition. The 23-year-old Australian's previous best qualifying effort had been a third on the seven-eighths mile Richmond oval. Briscoe, who served as the Toyota Formula One test driver for the previous three seasons, has a career-best finishing mark of eighth at Nashville. He led a race-high 43 laps at St. Petersburg, where he was leading with eight laps remaining when he was spun around in an incident with another driver.
- Both Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. have qualified in the Firestone Fast Six at both road course events this season.
- Helio Castroneves has qualified on the front row for each of the two IRL road course events. He was second at St. Petersburg after registering the fastest lap in single-car qualifying. Overall, he has five front-row starting positions this season with the pole last race at Pikes Peak along with seconds at St. Petersburg, Richmond and Milwaukee. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner won six CART races on road or street courses.
- Sam Hornish Jr.'s fifth today marks his eighth top-five qualifying effort of the season.
- Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) and Alex Barron (Red Bull Toyota) placed ninth and tenth to give Toyota five of the top-10 today. It's the fifth top-10 for Dixon and the third for Barron.
RYAN BRISCOE, #33 Target Pioneer Toyota: "This is huge for the Target team. It's been a tough year and it's great to see the team's motivation up. The no.33 Target Toyota been working really well and I put in a good clean lap for the first qualifying session. We made a slight adjustment to the front wing of the car during the shootout and improved our time. I knew we could do better and I did. The Target team came into this weekend well prepared and when you've got a good car, it makes my job driving a lot easier. We're here with good equipment and competitive equipment. Most of the credit goes to the Target team. This is a hard working crew and a winning team. They've won championships and a whole lot of races on road and street courses. I'd like to add another one to that list. There won't be any room for errors in the race and I hope to put in a good show tomorrow."
SCOTT DIXON, #9 Target Toyota:"A bit of a shame really because I had a good lap going and the no.9 Target Toyota was really much better than this morning, but I put it sideways in the carrousel and that's what cost me. It's definitely been a much stronger weekend for the Target team and it should be a very exciting race. The track is very physical and we're just hoping to get the job done tomorrow."
GIORGIO PANTANO, #10 Target Toyota: "I'm pretty disappointed actually because the team gave me such a good car," said Pantano who took over the helm of the no.10 Target Toyota just this weekend. "I was too late braking as I headed into the chicane and locked up the rear missing the chicane. I made a mistake and that problem cost me a second right there. I have been really enjoying this weekend and this track and I'm hoping to do well in tomorrow's race for the Target team."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, #3 Marlboro Team Penske Toyota: "It was a tough run and we tried really hard. The track changed a little bit from the morning to the afternoon which was a little bit to our favor. We tried something in the beginning of the top-six qualifying and it didn't work, and we had to stop right away. We used the tires up and the track was better. At the end of the day, I don't think we would have been able to catch Ryan. He did a good job. Now we look forward to the race tomorrow and hopefully will do well."
SAM HORNISH JR., #6 Marlboro Team Penske Toyota: "I'm happy with our qualifying effort today, and it's great to have both Marlboro Team Penske cars starting at the front of the grid. I've always enjoyed road course racing so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. This circuit is particularly challenging with the elevation changes and blind corners, plus getting through traffic could be difficult as there aren't a lot of places to pass. We've just got to stay patient and hopefully bring home a top-five finish."
ALEX BARRON, #51 Red Bull Toyota: "I was looking forward to qualifying because we did really well in practice this morning. We were a little bit slower than we thought we would be but the track is heating up. I probably left a couple of tenths on the track, but it is a technical track, so I am pretty happy with the run. It's refreshing for me to come and run a road course like this after so many oval track races in a row. This facility is really nice. They have done a lot of work here. It's refreshing to do something different."
JPATRICK CARPENTIER, #83 Red Bull Toyota: "I left a bit of time on the table there in three and four. I went in and had the wrong angle a little bit and slid up the exit. I think we have a great racecar, but we were lacking some speed for qualifying. It (the car) seems to have great grip, and today is hot. The car seems to get up to speed pretty quickly, so I think we're going to be fast in the race. All season, we seem to improve for the race, so I'm definitely looking forward to it,"