Sears Point I: Series qualifying notes

SONOMA, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2008 - Franck Perera won the SWE Pole Award for the Carneros 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. Raphael Matos, who trails points leader Richard Antinucci by four points, qualified second, while Antinucci...

SONOMA, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2008 - Franck Perera won the SWE Pole Award for the Carneros 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. Raphael Matos, who trails points leader Richard Antinucci by four points, qualified second, while Antinucci claimed the third starting position.

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Entry list update: The car name of the No. 23 Guthrie Racing Firestone Indy Lights entry driven by Logan Gomez has changed to IZOD Menards Guthrie Racing.

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SWE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:

* Franck Perera wins the SWE Pole Award. It his second pole of the season. He also won the pole at Watkins Glen 1, his first road course race of the season. Perera qualified second at Mid-Ohio 1.

* Raphael Matos qualified second. This is his seventh front row start of the season. He has won four poles and will start second for the third time.

* Points leader Richard Antinucci qualified third, his fifth top-three start of the season.

* Logan Gomez qualified a season-best fourth. His previous best qualifying effort was eighth at Kentucky. Gomez started first at Watkins Glen 2 based on his finishing position in Watkins Glen 1.

* Ana Beatriz qualified fifth, her eighth top-five start of the season.

* Daniel Herrington qualified a season-best seventh. His previous best was eighth at Mid-Ohio 1.

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SWE POLE QUALIFYING POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

FRANCK PERERA (No. 55 CJ Consulting Guthrie Racing, qualified first): "It was a nice lap. I think this year I've been pretty good at the end of the session. It's nice to be back at a road course after having some trouble at Kentucky. It's a new track for me, so I'm learning every time I go out there, and I've been working well with the team. I'm surprised because even though we were fighting for the pole the whole session, we had a fuel pump problem on the last two laps. I couldn't believe that I would make it, but I pushed any way. When they said I got pole, I couldn't believe it. I guess it's good, but now I'm disappointed because we could have been so much quicker."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, second): "We expected to be on the pole, but it was a tough session. It was difficult to time traffic, so I got traffic on both of my new tire runs. So it was quite difficult, but at least the guy I'm battling in the championship is right behind me, so that's a good thing. We'll see. I think we have a consistent car for tomorrow. So we need to make sure we make the right adjustments for the race tomorrow."

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third): "Qualifying for us was OK. The gearbox let us down in the last two laps. I think the shift cable broke. Maybe I pushed too hard on the cable, but we're pushing because it's qualifying. I'm hoping to put up a solid finish tomorrow with the Lucas Oil/LifeLock car and gain the maximum amount of points possible."

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If Richard Antinucci wins the Firestone Firehawk Cup, the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver may credit an engineer swap earlier this month. Antinucci is now working with veteran race engineer Ray Leto, while teammate James Davison is paired with the team's chief engineer Tim Neff.

The move paid off at Kentucky when Davison finished second, while Antinucci finished fourth to maintain his series point lead.

"I just go where they tell me to go," said Leto, who also is engineering the car of Tomas Scheckter in the IndyCar Series this weekend.

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
9-9:15 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights warm-up
11:15 a.m. Carneros 100 pre-race
11:45 a.m. Carneros 100 (30 laps/69 miles)

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The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County Aug. 24 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5:30 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 a doubleheader Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway. The races will air at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 on ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sam Schmidt , Richard Antinucci , James Davison , Daniel Herrington , Logan Gomez , Ana Beatriz , Franck Perera