GANASSI RACING SWEEPS FRONT ROW FOR ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD Sorenson becomes youngest major event pole winner in IMS history INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 28, 2007 -- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates Reed Sorenson and Juan...
GANASSI RACING SWEEPS FRONT ROW FOR ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
Sorenson becomes youngest major event pole winner in IMS history
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 28, 2007 -- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates Reed Sorenson and Juan Pablo Montoya swept the front row for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Sorenson became the youngest pole winner for a major race in IMS history.
Sorenson earned the pole -- the first of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career -- at age 21 years, 173 days, eclipsing Rex Mays' 72-year-old record as the youngest pole winner at IMS. Mays won the 1935 Indianapolis 500 pole at age 22.
Sorenson's fast lap was 184.207 mph in the No. 41 Target Dodge, while Montoya, a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie with ample IMS experience, secured the second starting position with a lap of 183.494 in the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge.
It marks the second consecutive year that teammates captured the front row at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, as Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer started 1-2, respectively, in 2006.
"It's obviously an awesome place to get our first pole," said Sorenson, of Peachtree City, Ga. "I'm pretty excited. I know it means a lot for Chip and everybody involved. Hopefully we can stay up there all day tomorrow. I think we've got a pretty good race car. It was really good in race trim and then we put it in qualifying trim, and it was really good as well. It should be pretty good."
The race starts at 2:20 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
Montoya also will make history on Race Day when he becomes the first driver to start all three major events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his career. Ironically, he qualified second for his rookie Indianapolis 500 in 2000. Montoya went on to win that race for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2001, he qualified third for his rookie United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis while driving in the Formula One series for BMW WilliamsF1 Team.
"It's nice to be back here and be competitive," said Montoya. "It was a good run. I was a little bit ahead of Reed coming out of the last corner. I got a little bit loose and had to get off the gas. It's good to see both Ganassi cars up there. I have a lot of really good memories from the past here. Hopefully I can get something done tomorrow."
Ryan Newman, a native of South Bend, Ind., added to his impressive qualifying resume at IMS with a lap of 183.475 in Penske Racing's No. 12 alltel Dodge, good for third place. Newman has never qualified worse than eighth in seven Allstate 400 at the Brickyard appearances.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start fourth in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet after posting a lap of 183.419, and Kasey Kahne qualified fifth in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge with a lap of 183.374.
Several drivers with Indiana connections had mixed results. Tony Raines, of LaPorte, Ind., scored his career-best Allstate 400 at the Brickyard start of 11th in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet, alongside South Bend native David Stremme, who will start 12th in the No. 40 Target Dodge. Fellow Hoosier Tony Stewart, from Columbus, Ind., will start 14th in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, and four-time race winner Jeff Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, Ind., will start 21st in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.
Rain washed out both practice sessions July 27 and also played havoc with the revised Saturday schedule. Cars did not get on the track until 11:15 a.m. (ET) due to persistent sprinkles Saturday morning, and as a result, qualifying did not start until 5:30 p.m.
Conventional wisdom would have it that cars in the back of the qualifying line would have a better shot at a fast lap, since the track would cool throughout qualifying. But the top five qualifiers all were in the first half of the order, with Earnhardt and Sorenson drawing the first and second spots, respectively.
Drivers who failed to make the field were Joe Nemechek, A.J. Allmendinger, Kevin Lepage, Dale Jarrett, Jeremy Mayfield and Kenny Wallace. Jarrett's absence marks the first time a former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner has missed the race due to qualifying too slow.
Tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and can be purchased at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Web site, www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by phone or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office. The IMS Ticket Office can be contacted at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Race Day reserved seat tickets start at just $35. Parking and camping permits also can be purchased online, by phone or at the Ticket Office.