Mario Romancini will start from the pole position for Sunday's Indy Lights race at Milwaukee. In practice, Romancini was fifth fastest at just over 144 mph, but he put two qualifying laps together, averaging 147.8 mph to earn his first Indy Lights...
Mario Romancini will start from the pole position for Sunday's Indy Lights race at Milwaukee. In practice, Romancini was fifth fastest at just over 144 mph, but he put two qualifying laps together, averaging 147.8 mph to earn his first Indy Lights pole.
"Since I got here this morning, I have been comfortable," said Romancini after lowering the qualifying record by 0.7129 of a second. "The car has been really, really good."
Andersen Racing will start drivers from the pole and inside the second row as Romancini's teammate Jonathan Summerton (146.739 mph) will start third, a career best since qualifying fifth at Long Beach. Neither driver had seen the Milwaukee Mile before this morning's practice session.
"Testing is just another chance to hit the wall," said Andersen Racing team co-owner John Andersen.
Seeing a track for the first time on a race weekend is nothing new for Romancini. "I am seeing all the tracks for the first time this year," said the Brazilian rookie.
Although Summerton was over three-tenths of a second off his teammate's time, he thought he had a shot at the pole. Summerton hesitated because his car understeered on his first lap. "My line was normal, and the car was good," said Summerton. "I just didn't make the full edge on that lap."
The Andersen team was split by J.R. Hildebrand (146.927 mph), who will start on the outside of the front row. Hildebrand said he stayed on the rev-limiter too long during his run or he would have been "right there."
Thinking wind would be more of a factor, Hildebrand reported that he went with the wrong gears. "We ended up geared a little too short for what the conditions were like," he said. "I think we have a little more speed in it."
Hildebrand's teammate, Sebastian Saavedra (146.552 mph) will start fourth.
Saavedra missed most of the first practice session as he spun entering the track, making light contact with the wall. "We didn't start off today where we expected," said Saavedra. "We had a small crash this morning in practice and the guys did a really good job putting the car back together for qualifying."
Sam Schmidt Motorsports filled the third row with Wade Cunningham (146.387 mph) edging Gustavo Yacaman (146.283 mph) by 0.0354 seconds over the course of two laps.
Cunningham missed some of the first session too as he was collected by Charlie Kimball when he spun.
"We were third quickest when Kimball spun out at the exit of Turn two right in front of us," said Cunningham. "I was setting up to pass him and I really didn't have anywhere to go and clipped him with the right front and tore that corner off."
Kimball's car suffered significant damage in the crash. Kimball was checked at the infield care center, where he was cleared to drive. Kimball managed to qualify 15th at 130.478 mph, just ahead of Rodrigo Barbosa (128.741 mph), who has struggled throughout the day.
Only 16 cars are entered for the Milwaukee event but eight drivers broke the track record set by Pablo Donoso (145.699 mph) last year. Donoso qualified 12th this year at 142.422 mph.