IPS: Taylor locks up pole at Kentucky

IPS: Taylor locks up pole at Kentucky

Thirteen Infiniti Pro Series drivers braved the elements of a humid 83 degrees at Kentucky Speedway late this afternoon, qualifying for tomorrow afternoon's Kentucky 100, a 100-mile, 67- lap dash around the 1.5-mile bumpy tri-oval. Series point...

Thirteen Infiniti Pro Series drivers braved the elements of a humid 83 degrees at Kentucky Speedway late this afternoon, qualifying for tomorrow afternoon's Kentucky 100, a 100-mile, 67- lap dash around the 1.5-mile bumpy tri-oval. Series point leader Mark Taylor handily took pole position over Gateway 100 winner Jeff Simmons, with Brandon Erwin third.

Mark Taylor.
Photo by indyracing.com/Ron McQueeney.
Taylor, the sole driver under 29 seconds at 28.992 seconds (183.774mph) credited his Panther Racing crew for "taking out as much downforce as possible for qualifying" on his #4 Fulmar Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone race car. When he tested earlier, "it wasn't quite as humid so that may have thrown other people off. It's a lot hotter today, too."

Simmons didn't get as much practice time as he'd hoped in the #20 Western Union Dallara. "We weren't sure what we needed [for gearing] and I hit the limiter over the bumps," Simmons explained. "At big tracks like this it doesn't matter where you qualify, but top five would be nice," he said after being second to take his timed laps.

After crashing last weekend at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis, Erwin wasn't sure he'd make this weekend's grid in the #99 Dallara, but credited team owner Sam Schmidt saying, "Sam sure stepped up for me and we've had nothing but positive feedback. I had a terrible practice; the gearing was way off. We changed that it's gonna be great for the race," he exulted.

Teammate Tom Wood starts fourth in the #9 Trailblazer Drilling/Savanna Energy Dallara but "thought I'd be quicker. We'd been working the car in race trim (on full tanks) during practice and I know I've got a good race car."

Although he was fastest in the rain-delayed practice, Thiago Medeiros couldn't get the #36 Genoa Racing Dallara to perform as well during qualifying. "The car is very good and we have a little bit of a push. Tomorrow should be a drafting contest anyway."

Aaron Fike earned sixth starting spot in the #91 Hemelgarn entry and thought his run was "all right. The car felt good but I don't. I've been feeling sick the last couple of days and my practice and qualifying times were about the same. We never seem to be able to pick up the 10ths we need somehow," he admitted.

With eight tenths of a second separating the 13-car field, a drafting contest is definitely on the agenda for race #9 in a 12-event campaign.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Brandon Erwin , Sam Schmidt , Aaron Fike , Tom Wood , Jeff Simmons , Thiago Medeiros
Teams Panther Racing