Mears nabs Houston GP pole

By Chris Speigner - Houston, TX - Saturday got off to a rocky start for two of the Indy Lights teams. The ...

By Chris Speigner -

Houston, TX - Saturday got off to a rocky start for two of the Indy Lights teams. The #1 car of Townsend Bell and the #18 machine of Tony Renna. Both cars suffered serious damage in practice early today. Both teams will have only a few hours before final qualifying at 1:00pm CST to make repairs. Bell, who qualified eighth and Renna in the ninth spot will be looking to improve their starting positions for Sunday's main event.

The green flag fell on the final round of qualifying at 1:00pm CST. No major incidents occurred during qualifying with only Kane, Diaz, and Higgins bringing out the red flag three times during this session. All three drivers incurred an eight minute penalty for stopping a qualifying session.

When the checkered flag fell the qualifying order had seen a significant change with Casey Mears taking over the number one spot and Jason Bright falling all the way to fifth. Mears turned a track record 64.722 sec at 84.936 mph.

Mears has had his best success this year on road courses. This is his second road course pole for the season. When asked if he preferred the road courses to ovals, Mears replied "I have more experience. [on road courses] I came from road courses, more road course type racing. I did a lot of miles at Laguna Seca. It was just fortunate the first couple of years.the best setup that we had, we did well on the ovals and that kind of labeled those years, but it's funny that we're actually more successful on the road courses.

Townsend Bell will be joining Mears on the front row. Bell fought mechanical troubles with a sticking throttle during this session but still managed to qualify just two tenths off the pace. "Getting taken out on the practice warm-up lap certainly didn't help the cause. The best thing with a three car team is we have three great engineers and two fine teammates that are willing to share information." It was that sharing of information that helped the #1 Dorricott Racing/DirecPC team setup Bell's car after that practice incident. "We went with their set-up so all I have to do is go out on the track and step on it. It makes my job much easier."

Derrick Higgins rounded out the top three. Despite hitting the wall at the end of the session, he will have his car in order for the race tomorrow. "I just basically screwed up.I know I probably crewed up everybody else's lap, but I have been on the other end of that as well. It happens. I was just trying to get a good lap."

The Lights take the track at 12:30pm CST on Sunday.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Casey Mears , Townsend Bell , Jason Bright