Texas: Series qualifying report

BRISCOE SCORES POLE FOR FIRESTONE 550K AT TEXAS FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two of Ryan Briscoe's five IZOD IndyCar Series victories have been secured on 1.5-mile ovals. He'll start from the pole in seeking a third. Briscoe, driving the No. 6 Team ...

BRISCOE SCORES POLE FOR FIRESTONE 550K AT TEXAS

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two of Ryan Briscoe's five IZOD IndyCar Series victories have been secured on 1.5-mile ovals.

He'll start from the pole in seeking a third. Briscoe, driving the No. 6 Team Penske car, recorded a four-lap average speed of 215.273 mph (1 minute, 37.3275 seconds) to earn the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the Firestone 550K at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dario Franchitti, seeking to be the third consecutive Indianapolis 500 champion to win at Texas in the same year, was 0.0057 of a second off Briscoe's pace. He'll start on the outside of the front row for the 228-lap race under the lights after an average of 215.261 mph.

Briscoe's teammate, Will Power, will be on the second row with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who won the 2008 Texas race. Helio Castroneves, the pole sitter at Indianapolis, and Dale Coyne Racing's Alex Lloyd will be on Row 3.

The top five qualifiers were separated by 0.3912 of a second and the top 10 by 0.6777 of a second.

Briscoe earned the 10th pole start of his career (second of the season), and has converted one into victory (2009 Chicagoland Speedway).

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

This is the 21st IZOD IndyCar Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. Helio Castroneves won the race in 2009. Gil de Ferran holds the single-lap qualifying record with a lap of 23.5031 seconds, 222.864 mph set in October 2003. Scott Dixon holds the four-lap qualifying record of 214.878 mph set last year. Past winners Scott Dixon (2008), Helio Castroneves (2009, 2006 and Oct. 2004), Tomas Scheckter (2005) and Tony Kanaan (June 2004) are entered in the event.

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Live timing and scoring reports from the Firestone 550K are available on the Internet at www.indycar.com. The live timing and scoring module provides statistical information, including track segment speeds, lap information and much more.

Feature stories, reports, driver quotes and notes, and photos will be posted on the site each day. More detailed information, including media advisories and VNF coordinates, is available at media.indycar.com.

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Medical update from Dr. Mike Olinger, Indy Racing League medical director: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Mike Conway was discharged this afternoon from Methodist hospital.

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Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced Thursday that South African driver, Tomas Scheckter, will replace Mike Conway as driver of the team's No. 24 Roll Coater entry for the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Conway sustained left leg and back injuries in a horrific crash during the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 24 Roll Coater): "Firstly, I'm upset about seeing my friend and roommate for most of last year (Mike Conway) get in such a terrible accident and my thoughts are with him. I am happy that the team has chosen me to step in for him this weekend while he recovers. I have won at Texas, earned two pole positions and led over 200 laps at the track. I always love going there."

MIKE CONWAY: "I'm feeling fine at the moment, all things considered. I'm just thankful that I came out of it alive. I want to thank all of the medical staff at Methodist Hospital, as well as the IRL safety team and all of those at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that pulled me out of the car. They've all done a fantastic job. I also want to thank my parents, friends and race team for all of their support and all of those that have sent on their well wishes. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery and I'm already looking forward to being back behind the wheel of a race car," said Conway.

DENNIS REINBOLD (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner: "We wish that Mike could be with us this weekend, but right now we are happy that he is okay and we just want him to have a speedy recovery. For us, Tomas made the most sense because we had a great run with him at this year's Indianapolis 500, he has a ton of oval experience and we have a seat fitted for him," stated

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Drivers will have the availability of the Honda overtake assist 20 times during the Firestone 550K for 12 seconds each. There is a 10-second recovery period between pushes.

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June 9 will be a busy day for Tony Kanaan, but certainly worth it.

The 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion will be testing at Watkins Glen International that day in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car for Andretti Autosport, and then compete that evening in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream charity race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Kanaan, who advanced 22 positions to finish 11th in the Indianapolis 500 on May 31, will join drivers from all types of motorsports disciplines -- Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Travis Pastrana, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Gordon and others - to race 2,300-pound Late Model stock cars on the dirt track. The field will be broken up into four teams, with drivers competing in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature,

The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream will be presented live on HBO Pay-Per-View (7 p.m. ET) with net proceeds from the telecast benefiting four children's hospitals.

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "I'm thrilled to have the chance to compete in the Prelude to the Dream. It's an amazing lineup of drivers and we're all competing for such a good cause. It's very rare for me to get a chance to drive something other than my Team 7-Eleven Indy car and to not have to race with points in mind. I'm not saying I'm going to do anything crazy because the goal is to help my team win, but I'm definitely going to have some fun next week."

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First-year IZOD IndyCar Series entrant FAZZT Race Team announced that general manager Rob Edwards has been named Chief Operating Officer. Those responsibilities will include overseeing the commercial operations and sales division of the FAZZT Race Team. Edwards replaces Jim Freudenberg, who resigned for personal reasons.

ROB EDWARDS (Chief Operating Officer/Team Manager, FAZZT Race Team): "We are looking forward to continue to grow and develop the commercial operations side of the FAZZT Race Team," Edwards said. "The team has a very strong commercial platform with a number of very strong partners and we will continue to strengthen those partnerships and create new ones."

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Jay Howard spent Thursday at Valley Ranch, headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys, watching the team's Organized Team Activities, and spending time with several players, including quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Miles Austin, tight end Jason Witten and defensive end Demarcus Ware. Howard received an autographed helmet from his hosts.

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Tony Kanaan appreciates the shoutout -- especially from the president of Brazil.

During a speech in São Caetano, President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva cited Kanaan's fortitude during qualifications and the IZOD IndyCar Series driver's stirring move from 33rd to finish 11th in the Indianapolis 500 on May 31.

Kanaan was involved in a pair of single-car crashes on the qualifying weekend, with the Andretti Autosport team (including crew members from other team cars) able to restore the backup car in time for a few shakedown sessions on Bump Day and a late-afternoon qualifying run.

Kanaan qualified 32nd and started 33rd because the team re-entered the primary No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car. In a post-qualifying interview, Kanaan said "I am Brazilian and I will never give up." President Lula said that it's the motto of his country.

"I am really living those days that only life explains; therefore of a bad thing we revert to obtain something positive," Kanaan said. "The dedication was rewarded when you see the president of your country recognizing the effort. I am extremely honored and happy.

"Certainly, the words of the president had brought me more motivation to still represent better each time this nation that I love as much. Yes I am Brazilian with pride and I will never give up."

Kanaan was running as high as second to eventual race winner Dario Franchitti. A fuel stop with four laps remaining deprived him of making a run for the twin checkered flags. He'll compete in the Firestone 550K this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

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PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "It's a great feeling to get the pole here. I have to thank Dario (Franchitti) for falling off a bit on his last lap. It's going to be a long race, and hopefully we can keep the No. 6 Team Penske car up front."

(About starting third and finishing third in 2008 and starting second and finishing second in 2009): "I also started 12th and finished 12th in 2005, so we should just call it a win, right? It's going to be a tough race. Racing in this heat it definitely does not make it easy flat like everyone thinks it is. It's going to be a challenging race."

DARIO FRANCHITTI: (No. 10 Energizer): "It wasn't a bad run. I am actually a little surprised that we ran as quick as we did because in practice the qualifying setup wasn't anywhere close to that. The guys on the Target team did a really good job coming up with some tweaks on the car and it was really close on the last lap. I was doing my thing in the car, and I didn't know how exactly close we were to Briscoe's time, but I guess it was pretty close in the end."

(About turning his focus following Indy 500 win): "It wasn't too hard to come here after the Indy 500. There are a lot of points in the season where we have two back-to-back street or road courses that are more physically demanding than the ovals. Indy and Texas certainly have a physical element and they are both mentally demanding. The massive heat could be a challenge here in Texas, but by the time we get to the end of the race tomorrow night, it should be cooled down."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "The Verizon car was very good today. I think qualifying really means something here because I think it's going to be tough to pass tomorrow. It was a great day overall for Team Penske and we're looking forward to a great race tomorrow."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "We were trying everything we could today in the Team Penske car. We improved on our speed from practice but Ryan just had a great car here and I congratulate him and the team on winning the pole. We feel we are in good shape for the race tomorrow. It's going to be a hot one, for sure. Hopefully we will have a different result tomorrow from Indy last weekend."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic): ""I'm very happy with the performance of the Formula Dream / Panasonic team in qualifying. We worked mostly on race setup in practice and we didn't do a qualifying simulation so to start seventh is not too bad. We had a difficult weekend last weekend so we just need a very strong finish here. On my own it is a pretty easy track but with aerodynamic change it's going to be huge pack-racing tomorrow night so It's going to be a very, very tough race but a good one for the fans to watch."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon): "It's been a difficult week for the team putting the car back together, but they did an outstanding job in a short period of time. We didn't have the speed to qualify well, but this is a track where you need a good racecar that can run well in traffic. We will work on the racecar tonight and hopefully get it sorted out.

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "Qualifying here doesn't really matter. It's so easy to put four laps together, so it is more of the engineer qualifying than it is the driver. That said, we have spent our time focusing on the race tomorrow night and that is where our minds are. We'll take what we did today and do everything we can tomorrow night."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "We're going to have to fight hard tomorrow night to go from the back to the front. Qualifying here is easy, but racing here is a completely different story. It's high intensity. We're just fighting the same speed issues we fought at Kansas and Indy, and it's basically an exercise in engineering at this point. We've got our work cut out for us, but this team always gives me great race cars. Hopefully, we'll have something for them tomorrow night."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "I'm really happy with our qualifying run. It's not very often that you are faster in qualifying than in practice, but we were. We will make a few adjustments before tomorrow night, but other than that, I'm really happy with the GoDaddy car."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "We had the Venom car flat out for qualifying. I would like to see us starting higher than 10th but I think we did some decent work in race trim today. Tonight's practice session will tell more of a story since it will be closer to race conditions. I'm staying optimistic; we can make passing happen and get things done from 10th."

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing): ""Our run wasn't too bad - the National Guard Panther Racing boys have been working hard and we're hoping for a really good result tomorrow night. We're coming off a great result at Indianapolis and the races before that too, which is a testament to the great work of the team. The heat is something we expected and obviously it's going to cool down as we get into the evening, so we're going to work hard to determine how the cooler temperatures affect the car and make the appropriate changes."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): "It's just a shame because I think the car is pretty good, but somehow we can't find the speed. We're going to keep looking until the warmup tonight and see if we can find some speed. We didn't have the speed today and couldn't really draft or pass in practice this afternoon. In our qualifying, we were flat all the way around and that was all we had so that is disappointing. But we're going to continue to work hard and not throw in the towel. We will work tonight to sort some things out and see if we can improve the car and find extra speed. We'll look at everything and see if there is something little wrong that is just flying under the radar and if we can find it, then we should be all right in the race tomorrow."

E.J. VISO (No 8. PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): " "We had a good test run this afternoon in practice. So I actually thought I would go a little bit better. I love this Texas track. It is one of my favorite in the championship. I'm looking forward to racing at night. It is a lot of fun. We worked on our race setup too. So I think we'll have a good car in the race. It is a long race, 228 laps, and we will have time to make adjustments with the car."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): "We were able to make progressive steps in the Lotus car considering the limited practice time. This track is very impressive, the highest banking in the series. It's kind of crazy in a good way. We went straight into qualifying and I am pleased where we ran this afternoon (11th in his first appearance at Texas). We'll see how we do in the night practice this evening. I think we will have a good strong car for the race."

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The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues June 5 with the Firestone 550K at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Iowa 100 on June 19 at the Iowa Speedway.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Jimmie Johnson , Travis Pastrana , Ryan Briscoe , Carl Edwards , Chip Ganassi , Alex Lloyd , Mike Conway , Will Power , Jay Howard , Dale Coyne , Kyle Busch
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , KV Racing Technology , FAZZT Race Team , Dale Coyne Racing