IPS: Lloyd sets new record on way to Nashville pole

Alex Lloyd will start from the pole position in his first appearance at the 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway. Although Lloyd's first qualifying lap was fast enough for the pole he went a tick quicker on his second lap, stopping the clocks at...

Alex Lloyd will start from the pole position in his first appearance at the 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway. Although Lloyd's first qualifying lap was fast enough for the pole he went a tick quicker on his second lap, stopping the clocks at 25.7368 seconds (181.841 mph). The time was nearly two-tenths of a second quicker than last year's pole set by Wade Cunningham.

In five Indy Pro Series races at the Nashville Superspeedway, the pole sitter has won three times. "We put a lot of emphasis on qualifying," said Lloyd. "We're starting on the right side of the grid. We'll see how it all shakes out tomorrow."

In addition to the prime starting position, Lloyd drives a Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry with Tim Neff as his engineer. While five different drivers have won at Nashville, three of those victories came in machines engineered by Neff.

Cory Witherhill won the first Pro Series race at Nashville with Mark Taylor winning the second. Starting in 2004 with Thiago Medieros, only cars prepared by Neff has driven into victory lane with Jaime Camara winning in 2005 and Jay Howard took the honors last year, giving Neff three straight victories on this track.

In the last three races on the Tennessee oval, Sam Schmidt Motorsports' drivers have led 183 of 231 laps, making Lloyd the favorite for tomorrow. If he wins it will be an unprecedented eighth victory for Lloyd this season.

Undefeated on ovals this season, Lloyd has led 262 laps in 2007, 120 more than Wade Cunningham, who has led 142 and is second on the laps led list.

Cunningham, who has two poles and one victory this season will start second tomorrow. After hitting the wall early in the first practice session, he was pleased with a front row starting position. "We literally slapped the car together for the second session and went out to try and find some balance. Qualifying was a bit of a guess."

Robbie Pecorari will start third, his career best start in a Pro Series race. Prior to this race, Pecorari's best start on an oval was 13th at Iowa. "We changed some things around going into Iowa and ever since then it's been going a lot better."

Hideki Mutoh will start alongside Pecorari on the second row with Sean Guthrie and Joey Scarallo on the third row.

Prior to qualifying Guthrie set the fastest lap in practice (180.685). His qualifying speed was nearly identical to his practice speed as he was only 0.0022 seconds slower. "We've been working all day to get a better car," he said. "Even though we've been fast, the car has been pretty hard to drive. Overall, the car is good, but we need to figure out what it will do in the draft."

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Thiago Medieros , Alex Lloyd , Robbie Pecorari , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Jay Howard , Hideki Mutoh