IPS: Phoenix: Medeiros earns Phoenix pole

Thiago Medeiros earned the pole position for Saturday's Phoenix 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at Phoenix International Raceway averaging nearly three miles an hour faster than his teammate Arie Luyendyk Jr., who will start...

Thiago Medeiros earned the pole position for Saturday's Phoenix 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at Phoenix International Raceway averaging nearly three miles an hour faster than his teammate Arie Luyendyk Jr., who will start second.

Medeiros used both practice sessions wisely today and despite temperatures soaring into the 90s, he shaved 0.669 seconds from the morning to the afternoon session.

"Both open practice sessions we ran after the Silver Crown cars and their Hoosier rubber made the track slippery for us," said Medeiros.

In qualifying, with the track cooling and Medeiros lined up at the back of the qualifying order, the young Brazilian took to the track and earned the pole in his first lap after stopping the clocks at 23.0933 seconds. The crew of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports No. 11 let Medeiros complete his second qualifying lap and it was faster. Medeiros officially qualified at 156.836 mph with a time of 22.9539 seconds.

"We qualified after the Indy cars practiced and the level of grip was much better. That allowed me to really push hard," Medeiros said.

Luyendyk, who ran consistently in both practice sessions, set his best lap of the day on his second qualifying lap with an average speed of 152.513 mph. "I always go a little faster in qualifying. I just pull a couple more tenths out of it that I can't find in practice.

"I think I could find a few more tenths if I was to try again, but the 23.6 (seconds) might be good enough for the front row," said Luyendyk, who was the second driver to complete a qualifying run.

Billy Roe will start third with a qualifying time of 23.6128, which was his best lap of the day. Roe, who was fifth fastest in the morning session, fell to tenth in the afternoon session. In qualifying, Roe managed to improve his afternoon practice time by over two seconds.

"We picked up a ton," said Roe. "We went back and made ten changes to the car. Plus that's the first time we really go to run on fresh tires.

"The race car was good, it's just that the race track threw us off earlier in the day, we just couldn't hold the hammer down. Like I said, I've never made so many changes before qualifying in my whole life."

Jesse Mason, who was fastest in the first practice session at 23.7222 seconds, will start fourth after qualifying a tick slower at 23.8104. "We were fastest this morning. I think the other guys found out what we were doing so they caught up. We should be all right for the race. I'm optimistic and hopefully everything will go good for tomorrow."

Rolando Quintanilla rounds out the top five with Matt Beardsley starting sixth. Infiniti Pro Series newcomer Leonardo Maia will start seventh followed by Brad Pollard and Phil Giebler, who won the season opener at Homestead.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Billy Roe , Rolando Quintanilla , Sam Schmidt , Leonardo Maia , Matt Beardsley , Brad Pollard , Jesse Mason , Phil Giebler , Thiago Medeiros , Arie Luyendyk Jr.