SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 - Raphael Matos won the SWE Pole Award for the Kentucky 100 Firestone Indy Lights race, his fourth pole of the season. The bonus point earned by Matos for winning the pole moves him into a tie for first place in...
SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 - Raphael Matos won the SWE Pole Award for the Kentucky 100 Firestone Indy Lights race, his fourth pole of the season. The bonus point earned by Matos for winning the pole moves him into a tie for first place in the championship with Richard Antinucci, who will start 10th.
Ana Beatriz will start second, the same position she won from at Nashville when she became the first female driver to win in Firestone Indy Lights.
Kentucky Speedway is one of three tracks on the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights schedule that has played host to the series since its inception in 2002. In two of the previous six seasons, the winner of the Kentucky race also went on to win the series title. A.J. Foyt IV won at Kentucky in his title-winning season of 2002, as did Jay Howard in his 2006 championship-winning season.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. hasn't fully recovered from surgery on his left knee, but he has been medically cleared to compete in Saturday's Kentucky 100. Luyendyk, driver of the No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers car for Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing, underwent surgery on July 27 to remove an infected bursa sac in his knee - the same surgery that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had earlier this summer. Luyendyk is fifth in points, 60 points behind point leader Richard Antinucci, but only 16 points behind third-place Ana Beatriz.
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers): "I heard Peyton is still in bed. I worked really hard (in rehab) in the last week so I could be in car this weekend and have a chance to move up in the championship standings."
Kentucky Speedway officials announced that all 66,089 seats at the facility have been sold for the Meijer Indy 300. The track will place 2,000 standing room only tickets on sale at 1 p.m. on Aug. 9.
The No. 43 SWE car driven by Mike Potekhen is carrying the logo of XFR, a new product being launched by LUCAS Oil Products this weekend. XFR or "Xtreme Friction Reducer" is a High Performance Racing Transmission oil. SWE, in conjunction with LUCAS Oil, has developed XFR racing oil for use in race car transmissions.
STEVE EPPARD (Owner, SWE Racing): "I am very excited with the partnership of LUCAS' new line of racing oils and SWE. I was at the dyno test performed by Xtrac Gear and was impressed with the results of XFR. Forrest Lucas not only showed up for the test, but he took it upon himself to hand blend the oil that dyno tested with outstanding drag and temperature results creating XFR."
SWE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
* This Raphael Matos' fourth pole of the season and the fifth of his career. Matos also had the pole on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami to start the season. He finished eighth in that race.
* Matos earns one point for winning the pole and is tied with Richard Antinucci for the series points lead. Both drivers have 376 points.
* Ana Beatriz qualified second, tying her best qualifying effort at Nashville when she went on to win the race.
* Arie Luyendyk Jr. qualified third for his fifth top-five start of the season.
* Dillon Battistini qualified fourth. He has qualified in the top five for six of the seven races on ovals.
* James Davison qualified fifth for his fourth top-five start.
* Logan Gomez qualified a season-best eighth. His previous best qualifying effort was ninth at Indianapolis and Nashville.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, qualified first): "It's very important to start up front at this track because it's so difficult to pass. We tested here a couple weeks ago, and we had great speed. It feels so good to put everything together and get the pole. I was a little bit concerned because we went out so early, but the entire AFS/Andretti Green team worked so hard all day. It feels so good to bring the boys the pole." (About winning a point for earning the pole): "Every point is important in this championship. It could be decided by 10 points, or just one point, so you have to get every point you can. It's good to get the pole. Tomorrow, I just want a clean race so I can get as many points as I can."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): "Today was great. We just keep improving the car. The Healthy Choice and Sam Schmidt crew - we work great together, and we are so confident in ovals and still improving. It is really tight here in Kentucky, and we will have to see what is going to happen tomorrow. We have put ourselves in a position that I think we can get a second win, but we will have to improve the car before the race because the Andretti Green car is really fast. I have to thank my Sam Schmidt team for teaching me all they know about ovals. They are very experienced on ovals. I am pleased to be starting on the front row, because it is very hard to pass here; I just need to find a way to get around Raphael (Matos)."
DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 National Guard Delphi, fourth): "Starting in the second row isn't a bad place to be starting. It is a little disappointing though. We looked good on the first lap, but just slowed a little on the second. I will definitely be going for the win this race. We haven't finished the last few races, but that won't stop me from going for the win. We have been strong on ovals all year, so I expect us to be extremely strong for tomorrow and contend for the win. We are going to try to move forward. Hopefully we will have a setup that allows us to do that."
JAMES DAVISON (No. 11 Lifelock/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth): "It felt good. We were lacking about a tenth (of a second) a lap. The car felt good. The speed just wasn't there. I said going into qualifying that I'd be satisfied with a top-five, happy with a top-three and over the moon with the pole. At least I'm satisfied. I don't know what more I could have done. You can't win all of them."
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8:45 p.m. Kentucky 100 pre-race @9:15 p.m. Kentucky 100 (67 laps/100 miles)
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Meijer Indy 300 Aug. 9 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Kentucky 100 on Aug. 9. The race will air at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 on ESPN2.