Simmons, Kane in top six at Laguna seca qualifying

Team KOOL Green's Jeff Simmons and Jonny Kane were fifth and sixth fastest respectively in today's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Indy Lights race at Laguna Seca Raceway. Simmons clocked a lap of 1 minute, 16.954 seconds (104.696 mph), while...

Team KOOL Green's Jeff Simmons and Jonny Kane were fifth and sixth fastest respectively in today's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Indy Lights race at Laguna Seca Raceway. Simmons clocked a lap of 1 minute, 16.954 seconds (104.696 mph), while Kane's best lap was a 1 minute,17.118 seconds (104.474 mph) around the 2.238-mile road course. Though they qualified fifth and sixth in the 18-car field, both TKG drivers are hoping to improve the handling of their KOOL cars and be able to compete for the pole position in tomorrow's final qualifying session.

Casey Mears holds the provisional pole after turning the fastest lap in today's qualifying session. His best lap was 1:16.137 (105.820 mph). Second fastest was current points leader Scott Dixon, who turned a lap of 1:16.410 (105.442 mph).

Indy Lights drivers have one more 30-minute practice tomorrow at 9:10 a.m. before final qualifying begins at 12:55 p.m. Sunday's race is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2 (All times are Pacific Daylight Time).

JEFF SIMMONS, #26 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20:
(5th with a lap-time of 1:16.954 seconds at 104.696 mph)

"Early on I made a few mistakes on some laps that I knew could have been better, so I stayed out and did what I thought was a pretty good lap on old tires. That put us first for a while. Then we put the new tires on, made a few changes to the KOOL car and it felt pretty good. I did a (one-minute) 16.9 (seconds) on my second lap and the next one I was in a good rhythm and one of the drivers purposely put his car in my way. It looked like he saw me coming and started to pull to the inside and then moved over so I had to lift and it ruined that lap. That's when the tires were at their best. So after that I set another decent time, but the car started becoming very unpredictable going to more oversteer in a few places and we still had the understeer in a few. It just became harder to drive as the session went on. Then I spun in turn six and was fortunately able to keep it off the wall and still running. I tried to do a few more laps and went off at the exit of turn five. It was a frustrating session, to say the least. We've got some work to do overnight."

JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20:
(6th with a lap-time of 1:17.118 seconds at 104.474 mph)

"We're kind of struggling with the car. Sixth fastest is probably better than the car actually feels. It's not doing anything that I want it to do. It's understeering -- it just won't turn in like I need it. We tried to fix that and caused an oversteer problem. The changes actually made it worse. We might have gone quicker if we'd just put the new tires on and not made any changes. Even so, we're probably three-quarters of a second away. We've never been that far away before. We've got a little thinking to do. I'll sit down with the Team KOOL Green engineers and try to come up with some solutions for tomorrow. We've run well here in the past, so we should be able to get a handle on it."

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Jonny Kane , Jeff Simmons