IPS: Howard earns pole in Homestead debut

Jay Howard earned the pole position for Sunday's Miami 100 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway after recording a lap at 188.589 mph. Howard, who dominated the Cooper Tire Formula Ford Series last year, is competing in his first Indy Pro Series race...

Jay Howard earned the pole position for Sunday's Miami 100 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway after recording a lap at 188.589 mph. Howard, who dominated the Cooper Tire Formula Ford Series last year, is competing in his first Indy Pro Series race this weekend.

"I want to thank Tim Neff, my engineer, for giving me a great car," said Howard. "What a great way to start my campaign. My whole family, all six of them, flew in from England. It was something they wanted to see. I'm glad I've come all the way from England to do this."

Howard is the seventh driver to earn a pole position for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. The team has scored 21 pole positions in the Indy Pro Series.

Jonathan Klein, who is also making his Indy Pro Series debut, will start on the outside of the second row. "The goal for our team was to be 1-2-3 in qualifying and in the race and that's what we did here today," said Klein. Although Sam Schmidt Motorsports prepares the cars for Howard, Klein and third place starter Jamie Camara, Klein and Camara are officially entered by Andretti Green Racing.

"We had no issues during qualifying," said Camara. We had a good car for qualifying. We spent most of the weekend setting the car up for the race, so we have a good race car too."

Wade Cunningham, who will start fourth, said he uses the same set up for the race and qualifying. "I think we were a bit too conservative on the set up," said Cunningham. "The car has been strong all weekend. We were quickest yesterday. I'm pleased with the car."

Several drivers recorded fast laps during the early portion of the qualifying session. Marty Roth, who will start fifth, thought he had posted a respectable time. His speed of 185.768 put him on the provisional pole ahead of four other drivers. "It's like every other time, we have a good lap and when it's all over we're starting fifth. It would have been nice to stay on the front row but we're close enough for my liking."

Roth Racing has improved greatly since the latter portion of the 2005 season when Mark Weida joined the team. Weida worked with Sarah Fisher during her stint in the IndyCar Series.

Chris Festa will start sixth followed by Jeff Simmons, Nick Bussell and Arie Luyendyk Jr. in ninth.

Geoff Dodge, who earned his Brian Stewart Racing ride through the Fast Track to Indy award at the Knoxville Nationals, will start tenth. Dodge struggled through the first practice session on Friday before learning his car was using 70 percent throttle. Obviously, I would have liked to have been a little faster. The problem with the throttle cost us valuable practice time."

The field of 16 cars is covered by less than a second with Travis Gregg's qualifying lap 0.9572 seconds off the pole time set by Howard.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Sam Schmidt , Marty Roth , Jeff Simmons , Nick Bussell , Chris Festa , Wade Cunningham , Jay Howard , Jonathan Klein , Geoff Dodge , Jamie Camara , Arie Luyendyk Jr.