IRL: St. Pete: Rahal Letterman Racing qualifying report

SIMMONS LEADS RAHAL LETTERMAN QUALIFYING EFFORT AT ST. PETE ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - Rahal Letterman Racing's Jeff Simmons drove his No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Dallara to 12th on the starting grid for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

SIMMONS LEADS RAHAL LETTERMAN QUALIFYING EFFORT AT ST. PETE

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - Rahal Letterman Racing's Jeff Simmons drove his No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Dallara to 12th on the starting grid for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Simmons, making his first IndyCar Series start at St. Pete, posted a fast lap of 101.842 mph.

"The Team Ethanol entry is making headway," said Simmons. "We weren't quite as good as we were earlier today in practice, but I think track is a little greasy now. We are really trying to work hard and get the car so it will be a good race car. After we had the problem at Homestead, we have to start scoring some points for Team Ethanol and Rahal Letterman. Anything can happen on the street courses. If we can make some decent mileage and if we can catch a break or two who knows where we can end up tomorrow."

Simmons teammate Scott Sharp piloted his No. 8 Patron Tequila Honda/Dallara to 15th on the starting grid. Sharp, the 1996 IndyCar Series champion, posted a fast lap of 100.784 mph.

"It has been a tough weekend for the Patron Tequila / Rahal Letterman team. We have had some really good road course tests at Daytona and Sebring and we came in with high aspirations. We have been chasing the car. and those changes to the car, the track, and the ever changing conditions all have been a factor. I think my qualifying run went all right, but we didn't go as fast as we did in practice. We were just a little off. It seemed like another lap could have made a difference with the tires coming up to temp. We will start in the middle so we will have our work cut out for us, but we will just have to make the best of it tomorrow."

Penske Racing driver Helio Castroneves captured the pole position with a fast lap of 105.052 mph, setting a new track record. Marco Andretti was second quick at 104.970 mph and Dario Franchitti was third quick at 104.723 mph.

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be seen live on ESPN at 2:30 pm Eastern on Sunday afternoon.

-credit: rlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons
Teams Team Penske