Kentucky Indy 300 – Kentucky Speedway
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, September 1, 2011
SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE EARNED HIS BEST START OF THE SEASON WITH THIRD FOR THE KENTUCKY INDY 300; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA NINTH
POLE: Will Power 2-lap avg. speed of 219.283 mph (L1: 24.2910, L2: 24.3038)
3rd: James Hinchcliffe 2-lap avg. speed of 218.186 mph (L1: 24.4068, L2: 24.4323)
9th: Oriol Servia 2-lap avg. speed of 217.520 mph (L1: 24.4826, L2: 24.5060)
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The cars were very good in the morning sessions and it was going to be a very fine line between choosing two downforce levels. We ran a more conservative approach in terms of downforce than James did and I am happy with starting ninth; I thought it was going to be worse. I am happy that we are starting in the fifth row. The Telemundo car felt good all day; nothing compared to Texas. This is such a better place for us and our setup that I feel very confident. I’m very happy that James qualified on the second row which shows the speed we have in the car. Based on where I thought we would be two days ago, I am very, very happy.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here and first with NHR. Started and finished 12th here in 2008 with KV Racing. Earned three, top-five finishes in the last five races… Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 23 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of eight top-three finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11/13 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi… Is FOURTH in series point standings with 367.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We rolled the dice a little bit and tried to peel extra downforce off the car. We weren’t sure if we were going with light downforce or be a bit safer and we decided to split the two cars. When we saw how well Oriol ran with more downforce we figured we would be all right. He came by and told me the car was really good and that gave me a little more confidence knowing that he ran well. It is a great job for Newman/Haas; I’m really happy for the boys. It’s a very good effort for us. I love coming to this race track. Its one of the first ovals I had a chance to drive on and it’s my favorite 1.5 mile oval. We weren’t sure what to expect here after Texas which was probably our worst event of the year so far. The guys did a lot of work and a great job to get us to this point. I’m pretty happy for us to be sitting where we. Honestly, I felt better with our race car than I did with our qualifying car so hopefully that bodes well for us tomorrow.”
FAST FACTS: James earned his best start of the season with third and the best for NHR here…This will be his first race in an Indy car here and third overall. He competed in two Firestone Indy Lights races. In 2009 he started fifth, led two times for a total of 20 laps but finished seventh after a late race spin. He started sixth and finished second in 2010. His highest oval start/finish of the season is fourth at New Hampshire …Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after three wins and four poles. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races…Is ranked 16th with a total of 255 points and is 14 behind Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (258) despite missing the season-opener (missed St. Pete).
NHR IN KENTUCKY: Newman/Haas Racing has competed here three times. In 2010 Hideki Mutoh qualified 5th and finished 17th for the team. In 2009, Graham Rahal started 10th based on entrant points due to “weepers” but hoped to qualify much higher based on winning pole at a similar track (Kansas; previous 1.5 mile track). He finished fifth in what he called “his best car on an oval ever” at the time. Robert Doornbos started 12th based on points and finished 19th after a pit problem. In 2008, the team’s first season in the series, Rahal started 20th and ran as high as 12th in the opening laps before gearbox failure ended his race after 28/200 laps and he retired in 25th. Justin Wilson started 19th and ran 16th before gearbox failure after 82/200 laps.
Tune In… The race will be broadcast live on Versus on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. As always, fans can follow the action from every on-track session via the official website of the IZOD IndyCar Series, www.indycar.com