Surfers Paradise, Australia (Saturday Oct. 25, 2008)- Weather played a big part in mixing things up in qualifying for Vision Racing and the rest of the field at Surfers Paradise in preparation for the Nikon Indy 300. A significant rainstorm hit...
Surfers Paradise, Australia (Saturday Oct. 25, 2008)- Weather played a big part in mixing things up in qualifying for Vision Racing and the rest of the field at Surfers Paradise in preparation for the Nikon Indy 300. A significant rainstorm hit the track at the tail end of the morning practice with conditions drying out until just after the green flag dropped for the first qualifying group. A consistent drizzle then began to fall as the first group, including Ed Carpenter, headed out on rain tires. The track slowly dried throughout the next 60 minutes, but wet patches remained for the second group, which included A.J. Foyt IV, and through to the Firestone Fast Six session.
Ed Carpenter and the No.20 Menards sponsored Vision entry will take his place in row 10 on the grid after qualifying 19th in wet conditions with a fast lap time of 1 min 58.7664 (84.721 mph) on the 2.795-mile, 12-turn circuit. A spin during his qualifying Group 1 session hampered him from getting in one more lap to improve his time.
The second qualifying group session also contended with wet, slippery conditions and A.J. Foyt IV was disappointed to have his fast laps taken away after causing two cautions by spinning twice in the same corner without hitting a wall. He will start the No.2 Lilly car from the final row on the grid in 24th spot next to Danica Patrick who also had her times invalidated for causing full course cautions.
Following an exciting finish to the Top-12 group session that saw all top six positions change in the final seconds, and much to the pleasure of the local fans, the final top three positions were taken up by two Aussies and a Kiwi. The Team Australia driver Will Power took the pole position on his home soil with a best lap of 1 minute, 34.9451 seconds (105.977 mph). Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second quick (1 min 35.7672 / 105.067 mph) and Penske's Ryan Briscoe will start third (1 min 35.8007; 105.031).
Ed Carpenter (on qualifying): "It was pretty crazy. It obviously rained after our practice this morning and everyone kind of thought it would dry out for qualifying and it did but just as the green flag dropped for the first group so did the rain. It made it pretty interesting especially as the track started to dry. I'm okay with how we did but I made a mistake and ran off into a run-off and cost myself another lap of track time and a better time. Overall I'm happy with our progress but disappointed that we haven't been able to really show that yet."
A.J Foyt IV (on qualifying): "I'm really disappointed. Driving in wet conditions made things pretty difficult but I really felt like we could gain some spots. I just didn't want to put it in the wall trying like I did yesterday. I spun it twice without hitting anything but lost my times. On the flip side, things can only get better I guess. We'll just have to be patient tomorrow and take advantage of all opportunities and get some more experience on a street course under my belt."