IPS: Mid-Ohio: Series qualifying report

LLOYD STARTS FIRST IN MID-OHIO 100 LEXINGTON, Ohio, Saturday, July 21, 2007 -- Alex Lloyd earned his fourth SWE Race Car Parts pole award of the season winning the SWE Pole Award for the Mid-Ohio 100. Lloyd, the Indy Pro Series points leader,...

LLOYD STARTS FIRST IN MID-OHIO 100

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Saturday, July 21, 2007 -- Alex Lloyd earned his fourth SWE Race Car Parts pole award of the season winning the SWE Pole Award for the Mid-Ohio 100.

Lloyd, the Indy Pro Series points leader, topped the 23-car field with a quick lap of 1 minute, 13.7719 seconds (110.188 mph) on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Lloyd supplanted first Andrew Prendeville and then Stephen Simpson from the provisional pole on his final two laps.

MID-OHIO 100 POST-SWE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Alex Lloyd's second consecutive SWE Pole Award, his fourth pole of the season and the fourth pole of his career. His last pole came at Nashville last weekend.

* Lloyd is the fifth driver to win back-to-back poles in the Indy Pro Series

* Stephen Simpson qualified second, his first front-row start in the Indy Pro Series.

* Andrew Prendeville (third) and Richard Antinucci (fourth) posted career best qualifying efforts.

MID-OHIO 100 POST-SWE POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:

ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, SWE Pole Award winner): "It was a really tough qualifying session. I think it was anybody's guess as to who was going to get the pole. We said from the first lap it's going to be who gets it on the last lap. We took maybe a bit of a gamble at the end and put a second set of new tires on. With only four minutes to go with the conditions the way they are, it was touch and go whether they were going to come in, and they came in just for the last lap. We got it just right. Timing was perfect. We had a great car when they were in, and all in all it's just a great day. We struggled a little bit yesterday trying to find a clear lap. We pulled it together for qualifying, and that's what's important."

STEPHEN SIMPSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, qualified second): "It's a great start for us. It was a tight session because it wasn't fantastic this morning. It was a bit like yesterday, where every lap was getting quicker, kind of like when you're on a wet circuit and it's drying up. The laps just kept getting quicker. It was good in terms of making sure I had a clean track in front of me. My last lap ended up being my quickest. Alex (Lloyd) was probably the last car out there doing a quick lap, and he got the pole, so congratulations to him. I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow."

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE (No. 5 RLR/Andersen Racing, qualified third): "It's our best qualifying effort yet, so we're happy to be qualifying third. One of the guys told me I was on pole until that last lap. We have a good starting position. It's really important to be in the first few rows here at Mid-Ohio, so I think we have a good shot in tomorrow's race."

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 51 Cheever Racing, qualified fourth): "Being the last team coming out of the pits cost us a lap and other people beat us. It's frustrating. We lost a couple of positions, and I wasn't able to get the last lap, and the session was getting quicker and quicker, so I know I could have gone quicker. Hopefully, we can turn things around for the race.

BOBBY WILSON (No. 1 Ocala Gran Prix, qualified fifth): "We were pretty short on time. The track was cold and the tires are cold and you only have 30 minutes to get things right. We were struggling to find grip out there. I just can't seem to break being fifth. I've been fifth in every session."

***

At a press conference today, Super Aguri Panther Racing announced it will field a third IndyCar Series entry for its Indy Pro Series standout Hideki Mutoh for the season-ending race at Chicagoland Speedway.

The 24-year-old Mutoh currently leads the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year standings in the Indy Pro Series. He claimed his first career victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in June and has posted eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 starts.

Mutoh's red and white No. 60 car will be sponsored by the Honda Formula Dream Project, a long-range program aimed at developing the talented drivers who compete in world-class racing events. Blair Perschbacher, the race engineer on Mutoh's No. 55 car in the Indy Pro Series, will also be making the move to the IndyCar Series. Mutoh will test his car at Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Infineon Raceway to prepare for his debut.

JOHN BARNES (Co-owner, Panther Racing): "The entire Panther team is extremely excited to help Hideki Mutoh make his debut in the IndyCar Series at Chicago. He's proved to all of us that he deserves this opportunity by the way he's performed in the Indy Pro Series and the way he's driven the IndyCar Series car during testing. Everybody here loves the way he approaches the sport mentally and the tenacity he's shown us on the racetrack. Hideki is a special driver who has a bright future in open-wheel racing, and we look forward to seeing him in a Panther car." (About Mutoh): "I've said it before this year, but Hideki does remind me of Sam (Hornish Jr.) In racing, it's one thing to be fast, but Mutoh is mentally tough and he never quits in a race car -- the same qualities that helped Hornish be so successful in the No. 4 car. I've seen it since day one with Hideki and he's proved that time and again on the racetrack this season."

HIDEKI MUTOH (Driver, No. 60 Honda Formula Dream Project Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "I'm very happy and excited about this opportunity to race for Super Aguri Panther Racing in the IndyCar Series. I have learned a lot this season in the Indy Pro Series and want to do well at Chicagoland. I have to thank John Barnes, Aguri Suzuki, the Honda Formula Dream Project and everybody at Super Aguri Panther Racing for giving me this chance -- it has been a goal of mine since I arrived in the United States. I also look forward to working with Vitor (Meira) and Kosuke (Matsuura), who have been a big help to me as I adjust to this style of racing."

AGURI SUZUKI (Super Aguri Panther Racing Project Leader): "Since Hideki entered the Indy Pro Series this year, he has won a race and his results have been very impressive. Although the season is not over yet, we decided to give him an opportunity to race in the final round of IndyCar Series in Chicagoland Speedway. He gained this chance by his good performance, so I want him to enjoy the race."

***

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE:
8:10 -- 8:25 a.m. Indy Pro Series warmup
10:45 a.m. Mid-Ohio 100 (40 laps/90.32 miles/60 minutes) ESPN2 (Taped, 5:30 p.m. July 26)

-credit: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Andrew Prendeville , Richard Antinucci , Aguri Suzuki , Alex Lloyd , Stephen Simpson , Hideki Mutoh , John Barnes
Teams Panther Racing