IPS: Homestead: Qualifying notes

It was a banner day for Chip Ganassi's team as they claimed the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Miami 100 Indy Pro Series event with driver Chris Festa. It was the first career pole for Festa. *** This is the fifth Indy Pro Series event...

It was a banner day for Chip Ganassi's team as they claimed the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Miami 100 Indy Pro Series event with driver Chris Festa. It was the first career pole for Festa.

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This is the fifth Indy Pro Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeff Simmons is the defending race winner. Paul Dana holds the qualifying record with a lap of 28.1746, 189.745 mph set in March 2004.

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Volusia Properties has announced today its continued sponsorship presence with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the 2007 Indy Pro Series season.

Highly regarded in providing luxury, oceanfront condominiums in Daytona Beach, Fla., Volusia Properties will have its website, www.flacondos.net , displayed on the No. 7, No. 23 and No. 38 Dallaras driven by Alex Lloyd, Logan Gomez, and Ryan Justice, respectively.

JIM MACK (CEO, Volusia Properties): "The opportunities Sam Schmidt Motorsports and the Indy Pro Series have offered our business have been tremendous. We've successfully used our access to the Indy Racing League paddock and its exposure to fans to spread the word about our oceanfront living opportunities while selling beautiful condos on the Daytona Beach shore. We couldn't be happier to continue our relationship with Sam and the team."

SAM SCHMIDT (Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "We're excited to welcome back FlaCondos.net. Volusia Properties has been a great supporter of our team since the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Our teams and series spend a lot of time in Florida, and we feel this is a great opportunity to continue helping Volusia Properties sell some of their beautiful oceanfront condos in the Daytona Beach area."

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Chip Ganassi Racing is fielding entries in Indy Pro Series, Rolex Sports Car Series and IndyCar Series events at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Chris Festa and Pablo Perez drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Pro Series while Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon drive the team's IndyCar Series entries. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas drive for Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing in the Rolex Sports Car Series. All the entries are prepared at the team's Indianapolis headquarters.

MIKE HULL (Team managing director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The possibility of winning is important for the team, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse. I think the way that good race teams achieve success is with really great drivers and really great people, which we have on all three teams. It's coincidental that although we're racing all three races on the same day; sometimes coincidence leads to success. We're certainly capable and up to the job. Everybody is excited on the race team. We're looking forward to Saturday."

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Indy Pro Series drivers Sean Guthrie and Shane Lewis will pull double duty on the season's opening race day March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In addition to driving in the Miami 100 at 12:30 p.m., both drivers will also compete in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event at 2 p.m. Guthrie, driver of the No. 4 Guthrie Racing entry in the Indy Pro Series and Matt Connolly Motorsports in Grand Am, and Lewis, driver of the No. 8 Michael Crawford Motorsports entry and Southard Motorsports Daytona Prototype, will spend the day hopping back and forth between the two types of cars. There will be morning practice sessions for both series before the afternoon races. The Miami 100 is a 67-lap, 100-mile event on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval while the Grand-Am event is a three-hour event on the facility's road course.

SEAN GUTHRIE: "I have done a lot of road course racing in the past in karting and the Star Mazda series, have tested on Homestead's road course in the Indy Pro Series car, and have tested a Miata and Mustang, but I have not done any endurance racing. My longest races to date have been 45 minutes. My stint in the M3 will be about 75 minutes, so that will be a challenge I'm look forward to conquering."

SHANE LEWIS: "Racing in completely different cars, in two different series, on a different course configuration all in the same day will be a blast. I think it will keep me sharp and focused. I am lucky that I have the support of both teams and the sanctioning bodies. The schedule works out great. I have just enough time to work with both teams and cars properly. I wouldn't do this if I thought I couldn't give 100 percent and do it right. After all, I plan on winning both of these races."

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Playa Del Racing will honor a fallen student athlete, Steve Scotton, of Fishers, Ind., on their Indy Pro Series entry at the first two events of the season. Scotton, 16, died Feb. 9 while playing in a high school hockey game for the Hamilton Southeastern Hockey Club. Scotton's leadership had earned him the role of captain for the team.

Jim Cochran, president of Fair/Finance, a supporter of the PDR team is also actively involved with the HSE Hockey Club. PDR will place upon the nose of the No. 12 car a HSE Hockey Club decal as well as the number 96, which Steve wore for his team.

AJ RUSSELL (No. 12 Playa Del Racing): "Sadly I never had the opportunity to meet Steve. I hope to relieve the pain felt by his family and friends for at least a short time by giving that car a run everyone can be proud of."

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Playa Del Racing brings back a familiar look to its No. 12 Indy Pro Series car by adding the Ethos Fuel Reformulator logo to the sidepods. Ethos first partnered with PDR for the 2006 Indianapolis 500-mile race when the company was the primary sponsor for the Playa Del Racing No.12 entry driven by Roger Yasukawa.

Ethos Environmental specializes in the development of a fuel reformulator that can help make vehicles around the world run more efficiently, and do so while reducing the emissions that have become so harmful to our environment.

GARY SALLEE (owner Playa Del Racing): "Ethos and Playa Del Racing are going to be a winning combination. We are in this business to perform well, and Ethos makes engines of all types perform better. By helping Ethos promote their product we are helping solve the world's emissions problem while saving money for those who use the product. This is a great deal for everyone involved."

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SWE RACE CAR PARTS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

CHRIS FESTA (No. 9 CGR Indy Pro Series, SWE Race Car Parts Pole Winner): "It's a great thing. The team is starting out for the first time, so to come out and get a pole is just a really good thing. They've worked so hard over the winter. I'm just so proud to be a part of this team. When somebody like Chip Ganassi hires you to drive his car, it definitely builds your ego a little bit, but I don't want it to get too big because that's when things start happening. We're feeling pretty good. We ran race setup in the session this morning, and we can put the car anywhere we wanted, so we're feeling very confident. We're looking forward to tomorrow." (About expecting to go 187 mph) "Honestly, no I didn't. I was expecting probably around 186, but I'm not going to complain. I'll take it. That was a pleasant surprise."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucus Oil/Isilon Systems/SSM, qualified second): "Qualifying went really well. We are disappointed not to be P1. We had a really good car. The car was quite fantastic but we had the wrong gear, which cost us the pole. We are on the front row and it is going to be anybody's race tomorrow. We are in a good position, and we are going to put it all together for the race tomorrow. (About his second season in the Indy Pro Series): "I think it is going to be an advantage later in the year. This is my first time here, so I still feel a bit of a rookie. The ovals are still quite new to me. I only drove in three last year. I do feel as we will have an advantage as we go on throughout the year. When we visit some of the tracks that the new guys haven't been to."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, qualified third): "This was my best job so far. This is my first time on an oval. I like the speed and being close to the wall and it is fast. I still need to learn in the traffic. And that is my target for tomorrow."

BOBBY WILSON (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualifed fourth): "The car was great. We haven't tested at night. The air is a little different, the track is a little different, and we were probably too conservative. It's going to be a tight field. I expect some good racing tomorrow."

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE:
9:35 -- 10 a.m.Indy Pro Series final practice (two groups)
12:30 p.m.Miami 100 (67 laps/100 miles), ESPN2 (5 p.m., March 28)

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Shane Lewis , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Memo Rojas , Roger Yasukawa , Jeff Simmons , Paul Dana , Chip Ganassi , Matt Connolly , Ryan Justice , Chris Festa , Logan Gomez , Sean Guthrie
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing