RICE WILL START SEVENTH AND PATRICK FOURTEENTH AT ST. PETERSBURG ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rahal Letterman Racing's Buddy Rice narrowly missed the Firestone Fast Six Shootout for a shot at the pole position at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
RICE WILL START SEVENTH AND PATRICK FOURTEENTH AT ST. PETERSBURG
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rahal Letterman Racing's Buddy Rice narrowly missed the Firestone Fast Six Shootout for a shot at the pole position at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Instead Rice will start seventh on the inside of Row 4 after posting a fast lap of 101.943 mph in the No. 15 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone.
"I think we left a little on the table out there," said Rice. "We just didn't get everything out of the car, but with only one lap, it is tough to have it all perfect. The grip level in qualifying wasn't as good since the track temperature was higher. I think the track temp was over 120 degrees. That is hotter than we saw earlier today. This is the second road race in a row that we just missed the shootout (7th at Watkins Glen). I think the shootout is great for the fans and the teams. I know we get excited about being in it. We just missed it today. I think we have a good racecar for Sunday. Starting seventh is not the best, but you can get up with the leaders from there. This track lends to three passing zones and we also have a fuel strategy that will make the race interesting. This track is as physical as the Infineon (Sears Point) track or the (Watkins) Glen. But it is hotter here and that will be tough on the drivers too."
Rice's teammate Danica Patrick improved over her Friday practice, but she was unable to duplicate the dramatic jump she had last week at Homestead when she qualified third. Patrick will start on the outside of row seven next to defending IRL champ Dan Wheldon after posting a lap of 100.553 mph in the Argent Mortgage/Honda.
"I had hoped I would go a little faster than this, but at the end of the day you have to settle in with what you got because you can't go back. With one lap in qualifying I always walk away thinking I should have done this or I should have done that. For the most part I went out there and drove as hard as I could in the Argent/Honda and most importantly still kept it on the track. Our focus this weekend has been to make the car as good as possible for the race. There is always attrition in a street race so if you can finish this race without a mistake you should be somewhere near the front."
Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti out dueled Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon for the pole position in the Firestone Fast Six. AGR's Tony Kanaan was third followed by Sam Hornish Jr., Helio Castroneves and Bryan Herta.