SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS HAS THE FIELD COVERED AT WATKINS GLEN AFTER QUALIFYING WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- One practice session and qualifying took place on Friday at the Watkins Glen International Raceway for Saturday's Corning 100. James Hinchcliffe...
SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS HAS THE FIELD COVERED AT WATKINS GLEN AFTER QUALIFYING
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- One practice session and qualifying took place on Friday at the Watkins Glen International Raceway for Saturday's Corning 100. James Hinchcliffe led the way for the team by earning the third starting spot, followed by Wade Cunningham in eighth, Ana Beatriz in 17th, and Gustavo Yacaman in 19th.
Hinchcliffe, in his first ever visit to the track, was consistently turning laps in the 1:37.3 range, but just couldn't put together that extra tenth and a half he needed for pole. Cunningham was on-pace all day as well, but like Hinchcliffe, couldn't put together that "perfect" one-lap flyer. However, both are happy with their race car and the direction they are heading in and look to be competitive in the race.
Engine issues plagued Yacaman during qualifying as a faulty alternator would not allow his car to run for nearly the entire session. He was sent out with 10 minutes to go to get a few laps in hoping his engine would stay powered-on, but he met the outside wall exiting Turn 6 on one of his early flyers, ending his run early.
Ana Beatriz had actually posted the 12th-best qualifying time, but she will be serving a five-spot penalty at the start of the race due to an infraction that took place in Iowa. Series officials felt that she did not show enough caution during the yellow flag on the last lap, thus the penalty for this race. She and Yacaman are both confident that their cars are fast and still haven't showed their full potential. They will look to try a few things in the last practice session before tomorrow's race and will be exciting to watch coming from the back.
Final practice takes place on Saturday at 9 a.m., and the race itself starts later at 1 p.m. EDT. All on track-sessions can be viewed live via streaming video on indycar.com.
The television broadcast of the Corning 100 airs on Monday, July 6, at 11 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.
DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES
#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
Qualified third; lap time of 1:37.3383. Season best start: 2nd (Long Beach); Season best finish: 3rd (St. Pete, Long Beach, Iowa). Entered Watkins Glen fifth in points.
"I think given the amount of track time we got, P3 is a pretty respectable position. We struggled a bit in a practice this morning and, to be fair, even the first part of qualifying was a little bit of nail-biter because we didn't quite have the balance we needed or the speed. The car felt fine. We just didn't have the speed. On our second set of tires, we managed to find a big chunk of time, a nice rhythm, and we pumped out a lot of laps in that 1:37.3 bracket, but we just couldn't put together that extra tenth and a half we needed for pole. We're starting on the inside for tomorrow, which I'm really pleased about, and we're still learning. I know the AGR guys tested here earlier this year so they pretty much know where their cars are at. I know of a couple of places where we can make ours a bit better. We'll use tomorrow morning's practice session to tune it a bit and just hope for a really strong race car."
#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
Qualified eighth; lap time of 1:38.1937. Season best start: 1st (Kansas, Indy); Season best finish: 1st (Indy). Entered Watkins Glen third in points.
"I was expecting to start a bit higher up on the grid, but we'll take what we have. We've shown all weekend that we've got the car and speed to be competitive and running at the front. It will take a bit of extra work for us, but I'm still confident that we can be competing for a podium result and maybe even the win on Saturday."
#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz
Qualified 12th (will start 17th); lap time of 1:38.6758. Season best start: 3rd (Kansas); Season best finish: 1st (Iowa). Entered Watkins Glen eighth in points.
"Well, we didn't have the run we were hoping for. It seems that the track changed a little bit between last year and this year. My Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt crew will look things over. I know where we need to make improvements, and I know that we're capable of going faster still. It's disappointing to start where we are, but we'll stay positive and look forward to a good race on Saturday."
#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
Qualified 19th; lap time of 1:53.6652. Season best start: 6th (Milwaukee); Season best finish: 4th (Milwaukee). Entered Watkins Glen 10th in points.
"Well, obviously, I'm disappointed with how things went today. A problem out of our control cost us most of the qualifying session, and then in trying to make too much happen, we had an incident. We'll put this behind us and look forward to having a good race and finishing every lap. My crew has had to work very hard this weekend, and I hope to reward their efforts tomorrow."
Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On Saturday, July 4, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be hosting its "Day at the Races" event in the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Hospitality area at 11 a.m. EDT. Around 50 guests will be provided lunch and learn about the quality of life programs available to the spinal cord injured and their families. Media inquiries about the foundation can be directed to Ida Cahill, the foundation President -- (609) 638-2083.