IRL: Watkins Glen: Rahal Letterman Racing qualifying report

JEFF SIMMONS LEADS RAHAL LETTERMAN QUALIFYING EFFORT AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, NY - Rahal Letterman Racing is a team built of racers. Never has that been more evident than at this weekend's Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix, where the...

JEFF SIMMONS LEADS RAHAL LETTERMAN QUALIFYING EFFORT AT WATKINS GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, NY - Rahal Letterman Racing is a team built of racers.

Never has that been more evident than at this weekend's Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix, where the team's mechanics worked all day on the team's two IndyCars, put in an extra two hours working on data and setup after yesterday's session - and then strapped on their own helmets to go racing in some Micro Sprint cars Friday night.

All that extra prep work, combined with the competitive fire exhibited on the quarter-mile dirt track Friday night, helped RLR drivers Jeff Simmons (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone) show improvements in Saturday's effort at Watkins Glen International.

The team made gains in morning practice, then went out and put up solid times in Saturday qualifying around the 3.37-mile road course in Central New York. Simmons was the faster of the two in the single-car road-course format, logging a time of 1:32.0007 (131.869 mph), while Sharp checked in with a lap of 1:32.1406 (131.668 mph).

"It was OK," Simmons said of his qualifying run that left him 12th on the grid. "You try to push for the time that you think you need but you really never know until it is all over and you see where you are. We had a little understeer in the car but we are making it better. I think we made some good changes in the car that will enable us to make it better tomorrow."

Sharp will grid 14th in Sunday's 60-lap event, matching his best starting spot in his three IndyCar visits to Watkins Glen. Qualifying results haven't been Sharp's strong suit at Watkins Glen, but he has not let it get the better of him on Race Day. Sharp has top-10 finishes in both of his previous Glen starts, making up eight positions in 2005 and five spots in 2006.

"I thought we'd run a little faster, but the car was a little tight during the run," Sharp said as team owner Bobby Rahal looked on from Pit Lane. "We made some changes overnight that made the car better but we weren't able to duplicate that in qualifying. We'll just go back, look at the data and work on making the car better for tomorrow."

The 10th race of the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule will take place Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The 60-lap event can be seen live and in its entirety on ABC beginning at 3:30.

-credit: rlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Bobby Rahal , Jeff Simmons