HUNTER-REAY WINS VERIZON P1 AWARD FOR HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO

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For Immediate Release

HUNTER-REAY WINS VERIZON P1 AWARD FOR HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ryan Hunter-Reay posted a lap of 1 minute, 05.3519 seconds in the Chevrolet-powered No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport to earn the Verizon P1 Award for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4.

The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion came tantalizing close to the track record of 1:05.347 shared by Dario Franchitti (August 1999) and Gil de Ferran (August 2000) in the Firestone Fast Six to claim his third pole of the season and first in eight starts at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

There are six races left in the season and Hunter-Reay is third in the standings (68 points behind front-runner Helio Castroneves).

"Last year we clawed back from bigger deficits," he said. "Being late in the season, we need to go like we did last year at the end of the season, which is go for broke. We’re not interested in banking results right now and going for second or third in the championship because nobody really remembers who finishes second a couple of years from now.

"We’re going for it. Hopefully this is the first step in it. But we have a long way to go, including tomorrow’s fight for the win. It’s going to be a long, hard race going up against the Ganassi, Penske boys and my teammates as well."

Will Power, the 2012 pole sitter in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, was .1840 of a second back for his fourth front-row start of the season. Scott Dixon, who has won the past two races at Mid-Ohio and four of the past six, will be on Row 2 with Marco Andretti, who made his first appearance of the season in the Firestone Fast Six.

Dixon’s teammate Charlie Kimball tied his career-best qualifying effort of fifth and Franchitti checked in sixth. Castroneves, who enters the 90-lap race with a 29-point lead over Dixon, will start 15th in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske car. It’s his fourth non-top 10 qualifying result of the season and the first since Milwaukee in mid-June. He finished second in that 250-lap race on the one-mile oval.

Also on Aug. 3, Gabby Chaves earned his first Firestone Indy Lights Sunoco Pole Award in qualifying for the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 4.

Chaves, driving the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 13.3306 seconds. Peter Dempsey recorded his first front-row start of the season in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing car.

Jack Hawksworth and series championship points leader Carlos Munoz will start on Row 2 for the 40-lap race.

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

The new Acura NSX, which is being developed for 2015 at Honda R&D Americas in Ohio, will make its public debut Aug. 4 before the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

The prototype model will be driven by Honda engineer Jason Widmer on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. The 2013 Honda Accord Safety Car driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford was built at the facility in Marysville, Ohiio.

In addition to the R&D facility, Honda operates multiple manufacturing plants, which employ more than 10,500 associates, in the state. Honda also is a major sponsor of the Mid-Ohio School, providing a fleet of Honda and Acura vehicles for the school’s teen safe driving and high-performance driving programs.

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The accessible Ford Explorer presented to wounded U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl Mike Delancey in July will be featured on "West Coast Customs" on the Fox Sports Network on Aug. 4. Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, HP and Environmental Rail Solutions helped fund the vehicle that was constructed by BraunAbility (the largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, ramps, and wheelchair lifts worldwide).

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Angie’s List, the national consumer review company, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car driven by Tristan Vautier’s for five of the final six races of the season.

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The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is the first race that optional road course aluminum steering arms provided by Dallara are available for use by IZOD IndyCar Series teams.

The steering arms apply pressure from the steering rack to the uprights and allow the front tires to turn left and right. Steel steering arms are standard on the 2012 Dallara chassis.

Aluminum steering arms, designed to fail just above the track rod buckling load, could aid in reducing the transfer of energy to the steering rack and into the car upon impact. The steel steering arms have a tolerance 2.5 times the track rod buckling load.

"The aluminum steering arms can help reduce the likelihood of driver hand and wrist injuries in certain circumstances," said Will Phillips, vice president, technology, INDYCAR. "Dallara continues to try to improve all safety aspects of the car with input from INDYCAR and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers. Currently, the components remain optional for the teams as we continue to collate any incident data."

Six teams placed an order for the aluminum steering arms.

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Ohio native and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing co-owner Sarah Fisher met with the media following the first practice.

SARAH FISHER (Co-owner Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): (About her car leading the practice session: "The kid (Josef Newgarden) really has it together. We made some changes overnight and reacted really well to a green track. He’s getting everything out of it he can. It was nice to see that. We’re just looking forward to qualifying and go through the day." (About adding a second car for Lucas Luhr at Sonoma): "The decision stemmed from our decision with Steve Weirich and RW Motorsports. Steve came on to partner with us to run Bryan Clauson at Indianapolis in 2012. As part of that relationship, we needed to run his car – the third car that we rotate through our stable – at some point during the season. Indianapolis didn’t really look to be the best for that this year for us. As we were talking to Honda and some of the opportunities, Sonoma seemed to fit very well into what we were trying to accomplish. That’s is where we targeted to start the program at." (Do you miss being in a car?): "Not here. (Laughing) Some days, yeah. But I think the older you get as a driver, the more tolerance really shows. You have to tolerate a bad race car on days to get to the good race car days. As a driver, I was getting to the point where I didn’t really want to do that anymore. It worked out well for me. To see Josef doing extremely well and know we have a good car, that we hired the right staff and so forth. That’s rewarding to me because that’s something, at times, I didn’t have. To be able to put that together and see that grow and develop is very rewarding in itself." (About young drivers getting time to develop): "It’s not easy to be thrown in a seat and to be the only driver on a team. I’ve been there and I know how hard it is. Lucky for me, between Derrick Walker and Dennis Reinbold, I had people who believed in me and stuck by me. Having that background, working with Josef and seeing where a teammate would be incredibly helpful for him and seeing him develop so well without a teammate, I know the time and the time amount we have on track and the testing. All that is adding together and we can see, everyone can see the numbers improving. Whether Race Day this year was a team issue, or a Josef issue or whatever, the numbers are getting better. That’s rewarding in itself. As we continue to exponentially get better throughout the field, we can see a lot of the things that we invested in paying off. As far as an exact answer for how many years it can take, it depends on the individual, but for Josef, if we all get along and everything executes the way it would be, his contact is five years. We look towards longer term to be able to develop a new guy like that. Absolutely." (About expanding to a full-time two-car team): "We’ve wanted to be two cars from day one and we’ve explored it here and there. It absolutely has to be the right program. For us, (Sonoma) is one more of those weekends to explore what is it going to take. What do we need when we align it and make it happen. It’s really an exploratory venture for us as well as satisfying what we need to do for Steve Weirich and RW Motorsports. Certainly having two cars is very valuable, especially with the changing metrics, changing tires, changing things that are ever evolving in our sport." (About Greg Pickett involvement in second car): "Yet another guy who is partnering (laughter). I’ve not spoken with Greg (Pickett) a whole, whole lot, but this is sort of an introduction to him and what he does. I’d admire extremely a lot what he’s done in the ALMS and I know he’s a championship-winning owner and driver, too. He put together a great race team. For me, it’s having him on board supporting it, more from a sponsorship standpoint. The ability to give him a headset and see what INDYCAR is all about, rather than coming as a race fan. He has an interest in what INDYCAR does. What the (IZOD) IndyCar Series is overall and who knows where it will go. It’s exploratory on that end as well. We’re just really happy to see more and more partners and more and more people have an interest in our sport. We feel a responsibility to expand the IndyCar Series as owners." (Do you have the urge to get back in a car?): "I don’t think Honda would want me at Mid-Ohio (laughter). I think the urge is there when Josef has a really good race car. When every individual on our team does their job the very best and you come away with a P1 or something very exciting. Or you qualify in the top-nine shootout at Indy. That’s when you say, "It would be so much fun to jump in there." But I didn’t work hard to get there, so I don’t deserve to be there. It’s sort of rewarding to see that come together but certainly on the days that are really good, and even sometimes when it’s bad, I think, maybe I can jump in there and help Josef or at least give him someone to talk to about what he’s dealing with, on an oval." (How different is the excitement as an owner?): "It’s a completely different experience. Just being an athlete and having that different mindset. Granted I’ve done all three – the driving, the driving and owning, which Ed (Carpenter) is dealing with right now and then the owning part. Just being the athlete is a lot of work, and I don’t think people realize how much work that just that part of it is. It’s hard to remember, nowadays. It was a lot of fun and having individuals to your assign yourself is even more fun. It just keeps getting better and better. When I go back to the motorhome at night and spend time with my 2-year-old daughter, who likes to go fast in anything, I know that I’m in trouble. As a total package it’s a lot of fun." (How do you keep taking the job home with you): "You don’t. But on the other side of that I guarantee you that when Scott Dixon goes back to the coach and talks to (wife) Emma that he doesn’t leave work on the track either. If I were just myself and didn’t have (husband) Andy (O’Gara) as team manager, I would still talk to him about it. To have family as part of the team is excellent. You go home and talk about it and you’re actually strategizing about the next move. And how you’re going to accomplish whatever adversity you’re facing." (Where did you see yourself 10 years ago. And where do you see yourself in 10 years): "10 years ago, I was just an athlete and at 22 years old, my only focus was winning races and how I was going to accomplish that. I didn’t really care about the next day and I don’t think a lot of 22 year olds think that way, which is why young athletes do an excellent job like we saw today. For me, where I’m at now, sort of evolved and I’m very lucky to be part of racing and still have a family, which is a tough decision to do as a female athlete. To be part of the sport that I love and can’t live without – I tried for a year and went insane. I dyed my hair three different colors and whatever, it’s a long story but I’m back. Towards the future, we have to be a multi-car team and we have to have a feeder series to bring drivers in, to bring crew members in and bring engineers in and develop them to be where we want to be. We’re very lucky. We’ve been able to handpick the individuals that we have and they fit in automatically. They weren’t part of a system growing into the job they have right now. We’re extremely lucky and I’d like to see that support series come into the shop. We’ve built a shop that can support that long term. That’s where we’ve got to go. We just need to make the budget to make it happen."

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE:

At 10:15 a.m., the ambient temperature was 68 degrees with a relative humidity of 86 percent and winds from the northeast at 3mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 86 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

10:30 a.m. – GREEN. #3 Castroneves first on track.

10:33 a.m. – RED FLAG. #14 Sato off course in Turn 2. Car continues back to the pit lane under its own power.

10:38 a.m. – GREEN.

10:54 a.m. – RED FLAG. #83 Kimball makes moderate contact with tire barrier in Turn 1 and briefly gets airborne. Driver climbs from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.

11:04 a.m. – GREEN.

11:12 a.m. – RED FLAG and CHECKERED. #12 Power is off course in Turn 1. #27 Hinchcliffe is off in Turn 12 after contact with the tires. Both cars are restarted by the Holmatro Safety Team. #27 returns with nose damage.

QUICKEST TIMES OF IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE:

Pos. Car Name Time
1. 67 Josef Newgarden 1:06.6536
2. 25 Marco Andretti 1:06.7244
3. 5 E.J. Viso 1:06.7339
4. 27 James Hinchcliffe 1:06.7810
5. 19 Justin Wilson 1:06.9410

QUALIFYING PROCEDURE FOR THE VERIZON P1 AWARD:

Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award consists of three segments. In Segment One of qualifying, each group receives 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six cars from each group advance to Segment Two, while the remaining cars are assigned positions 13-26. Group One drivers will occupy the odd-numbered positions (13, 15, 17…) while Group Two drivers will occupy the even-numbered positions (14, 16, 18…) based on their fastest lap times.

During Segment Two, the 12 advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six advance to the Firestone Fast Six Shootout while the remaining six cars are ranked in positions 7-12 based on their fastest laps.

During the Firestone Fast Six, the six cars receive 10 minutes of track time, with a guarantee of five minutes of green flag time. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-6 based on their fastest laps.

Any driver who causes a red flag during any segment will lose their two quickest laps.

VERIZON P1 AWARD QUALIFYING #1 SEGMENT ONE:

•Segment One of qualifying is divided into two groups of 12 drivers each.

•Qualifying laps will continue to be timed during local yellow conditions.

•Competitors must exercise caution during a local yellow condition. Violators may be penalized; and there is no passing in a local yellow area.

•A red condition will be declared when a car is in need of immediate assistance.

At 2 p.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees with a relative humidity of 56 percent and winds from the northeast at 8 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 107 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

•Track record: Gil de Ferran,1:05.347 (August 2000); Dario Franchitti (August 1999).

•Quickest lap this weekend: #12 Will Power, 1:05.4342

2 p.m. – GREEN. First group on track.

2:10 p.m. – CHECKERED for first group. Top six cars: #10 Franchitti, #83 Kimball, #9 Dixon, #78 De Silvestro, #19 Wilson, #5 Viso. Cars failing to advance: #27 Hinchcliffe, #3 Castroneves, #18 Davison, #67 Newgarden, #6 Saavedra, #20 Carpenter.

Top time from first group: #10 Franchitti, 1:05.7004 No. 6 time from first group: #5 Viso, 1:07.5107

No. 7 time from first group: #27 Hinchcliffe, 1:07.5708

2:15 p.m. – GREEN. Second group on track.

2:17 p.m. – RED FLAG. #98 Filippi off course and makes contact with the tire barrier in Turn 12. He will lose his two quickest laps for causing the red flag. 2:20 p.m. – GREEN.

2:25 p.m. – CHECKERED for second group. Top six cars: #1 Hunter-Reay, #77 Pagenaud, #12 Power, #55 Vautier, #25 Andretti, #16 Jakes. Cars failing to advance: #7 Bourdais, #14 Sato, #4 Servia, #11 Kanaan, #15 Rahal, #98 Filippi

Top time from first group: #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay, 1:05.662

No. 6 time from first group: #16 James Jakes, 1:06.118

No. 7 time from first group: #7 Sebastien Bourdais, 1:06.185

VERIZON P1 AWARD QUALIFYING SEGMENT TWO:

At 2:30 p.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees with a relative humidity of 56 percent and winds from the northeast at 8 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 106 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

2:35 p.m. – GREEN. Track open to all 12 participants in second segment.

2:45 p.m. – CHECKERED. End of segment two. Top six cars: #12 Power, #25 Andretti, #1 Hunter-Reay, #9 Dixon, #10 Franchitti and #83 Kimball. Cars failing to advance: #19 Wilson, #77 Pagenaud, #78 De Silvestro, #16 Jakes #55 Vautier and #5 Viso. All 12 cars turned laps on Firestone red "alternate" tires.

Top time from segment two: #12 Will Power, 1:05.459 No. 6 time from segment two: #83 Charlie Kimball, 1:05.887

No. 7 time from segment two: #19 Justin Wilson, 1:06.320

VERIZON P1 AWARD QUALIFYING FIRESTONE FAST SIX SHOOTOUT:

Engines in Firestone Fast Six: Honda 3 (#9 Dixon, #10 Franchitti, #83 Kimball), Chevrolet 3 (#1 Hunter-Reay, #12 Power, #25 Andretti)

2:55 p.m. – GREEN. #1 Hunter-Reay, #10 Franchitti, #83 Kimball on track on Firestone primary "black" tires.

3 p.m. – All cars on the pit lane.

3:01 p.m. – #25 Andretti and #12 Power on track on Firestone alternate "red" tires. 3:02 p.m. – All six Firestone Fast Six participants on Firestone alternate "red" tires.

3:04 p.m. – #1 Hunter-Reay quickest at 1:05.653.

3:05 p.m. – CHECKERED. #1 Hunter-Reay wins Verizon P1 Award for capturing pole with lap of 1:05.3519, the third fastest lap turned at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. #12 Power will start second, joining Hunter-Reay on front row.VERIZON P1 AWARD QUALIFYING NOTES

• This is Ryan Hunter-Reay’s fifth career Indy car pole and third pole of the season. He won the Verizon P1 Award at Barber and Sao Paulo this season.

• This is Hunter-Reay’s first pole at Mid-Ohio and second front row start at the track. Hutner-Reay started on the front row at Mid-Ohio in 2003.• Hunter-Reay was five thousandths of a second off the track record.

• Will Power qualified second. He has started in the first two rows in his last four starts at Mid-Ohio

• Scott Dixon qualified third. He has started in the top-six at Mid-Ohio in last seven starts at the track

• Marco Andretti qualified fourth in his first appearance in the Firestone Fast Six this season.

• Andretti’s best start at Mid-Ohio was third in 2008

• Charlie Kimball qualified fifth, matching his career-best start which was at Barber earlier this year. Kimball qualified 10th in only previous start at Mid-Ohio (2011)

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO QUALIFYING QUOTES:

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet) Verizon P1 Award: (On his strategy in qualifying) "It took a lot of guts to do that strategy there. We put ourselves at risk there in that middle session to go on used reds against a field this competitive, but the risk paid off. That was definitely the most nerve-wracking part of that session, going out on used reds." (On if the car has been good all week or if they made a lot of changes from testing) "We’ve been working on it steadily, but the track conditions, you know it’s been raining and then the track comes back, and then it rains overnight, so it’s been a big engineering exercise trying to stay on top of the grip of the track, but as always these guys have done a great job. Hopefully we can put the weekend together and have a good one here. I love Mid-Ohio, and it’s great to have the No. 1 DHL Chevy on top." (On wanting to finally get a win here) "That’s the one thing I’m missing. I’ve finished on podium here a bunch, started on the front row before but never had the chance to win this race, I’ve never won this race. We need to bring it home, for the championship too. It’s going to be a long, hard race tomorrow going up against the Ganassi, Penske boys and my teammates as well."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "Even though it’s my first top six, I think we had a lot more potential in the No. 25 car. I’m a little disappointed, because obviously we have to beat Ryan in the championship as well and he goes and gets another point, but we need to learn off it and figure out where he beat me and come back tomorrow. That’s the one that pays the big points."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "It was a great effort by all the Chip Ganassi Racing guys. There were as many red shirts from the Target side in the garage as there were orange shirts. They gave me the easy job of driving the racecar. They kept kicking me out of the garage, telling me to get out of the way. All I had to do while they changed the backup was get the car ready for me and all I had to do was go out and drive it. The boys deserved it. We had a really good car all week, both starting at the test and yesterday’s practice. This morning we just got caught out by the track conditions, a little dampness under the bridge. That was unfortunate, but it was great to bounce back and get a top-five starting spot."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Quite uneventful, you could say, getting the most out of the tires. Really happy to be second. Tough to try to get pole when (Ryan) Hunter-Reay had new reds. Yeah, still very good. I would love to get a win sometime this year if it’s possible. But, you know, I can be quite aggressive because I’m not in the championship and the guys around me are. I just need to go for it and see what I can get."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "I don’t know whether it’s the heat or whatever, but the balance has been tough for me to find. We had to make a few on the spot changes to get through Q1 and Q2 and then onto the Firestone Fast 6. In the Firestone Fast 6 the car had a pretty decent balance. Good starting spot for us in P3."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "The second segment went pretty well. Got a little ambitious in the Firestone Fast Six. We left a little bit late from the box there. That put us behind. I went off on the one lap I got in the exit on turn one. Lost some time there. My time was set on the black tires. When we came around, got the checkered flag, we missed the next lap by less than a second. That was disappointing. Definitely there was more speed in the car than we got to show there in the Firestone Fast Six, so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco-Turbo KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously I am disappointed and frustrated. We worked hard to improve the car during the practice sessions and we thought we had a top-10 car, but things just didn’t work out that way. We have to sit down, take a look at the data and make some changes. It is going to be a long race tomorrow. Hopefully we can improve the car and come up with a strategy that will get us back to the front."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "James (Davison) was in a hurry when the session started and went by and then decided he was going to back up. He was warming up the tires all the way down the backstretch. I started to go around him going into Turn 4. He about hit me into the grass so I was going to go around him in five. He was going to the left to set up for six and turned right back in the front of me when I was making a run on him into six. I’ve been there. There’s a lot going on. But he’s not paying attention to what’s going on. If that’s how he’s going to drive tomorrow, he’s going to end up getting run in to. I’m really just disappointed. We’d struggled yesterday and had really made good improvements this morning and the way that worked out, we broke a front wing, had to come in, and by the time we got everything fixed, we ran the least amount of laps that session than anybody. All you have to do is watch the way these sessions have gone. The track gets quicker every single lap. It wasn’t a good session for us."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "I’m very happy with the car. I think we found what we need to because the car is very fast. We just missed the Firestone Fast Six because we made a minor adjustment right before going out. I have to say the competition is just fierce here. One little change on the car can upset you as a driver and I didn’t adapt quick enough so we didn’t put the car where it needed to be. We’re definitely fast enough to be up there so we’ll take eighth today and have a strong race tomorrow."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "It’s very rare when you finish qualifying feeling the way I feel – where you don’t transfer – but the car is so good. I’m really happy with the National Guard Chevy and had what I needed; it’s just so tight that we missed transferring by half of a tenth. It’s just one of those things where you need to hit everything right, and on my second (hot) lap I was already two-tenths down a few corners in, but on the third corner I just tried a little too hard and l lost the rear. It’s amazing what IndyCar is today and what it takes to be up front, and this year is very special. But I’m really happy with the work we’ve done, I had the engineers here working until late, and the car is really good. You know with this place it’s hard to overtake and the way they’ve done the length of the race I’m not sure there’s room for multiple strategies. You never know what could happen, I’ve got a good car and hopefully we can get up front and make the National Guard proud."

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "P9 is definitely one of the better qualifying efforts we’ve had lately and I think we can be okay with that. We made a few changes and learned from it, so that was a good thing. We’ve been far away from this for a long time and now it’s really good to be back. We’ve worked really well through the weekend and just missed it by a little bit; I think it was a tenth to get into the fast six. We have a little more work, but we feel pretty confident. We have a really good pace and with where we’re starting hopefully we can finish up front. A top-ten would be huge for us. We started off the season so well and then hit a little bit of a slump, so now it’s really time to get it back on track and I feel that’s what we’re doing. My team is really good and we’re working really hard and that’s what counts right now."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Angie’s List Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It’s been a tough stretch of races for us lately so we were happy to advance out of the first group. Unfortunately the second round didn’t go as we were hoping. I knew I had to push it a step further to make Firestone Fast 6 but I made a few little mistakes. The tires are designed not to last that long so if you make a mistake on your flying lap you’re in trouble. The car was good though and I’m very happy to have Angie’s List on board starting this weekend. Overall it was a good qualifying effort and we’ll be ready to race to the front tomorrow."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "I’m reasonably happy with starting seventh. I was hoping to break into the Firestone Fast Six. I love this track at Mid-Ohio and I was hoping we could do it here. But we just missed out. We’ll go away and work at it and see if we can get a little bit more speed and try to get a balance and work out where I can improve and hopefully come back tomorrow and challenge for the win. I’m really looking forward to the race I think it’s going to be a tough hard fought-out race. It’s going to be about speed, fuel economy, strategy and a little bit of luck and hopefully we can put it all together."

JAMES JAKES (No.16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "I knew in the morning session that our lap time was not really where we were competition-wise. I had a bit of confidence in the car, I wasn’t sure how quick we could go but I knew it wasn’t where we ended up in that session. We had to be patient and put the lap together in qualifying. The car is still not perfect but the guys have been doing a great job to get us from where we were to where we are now. Hopefully we can make that jump again and get a real good car for tomorrow. I am happy about our progress. Its days like this — especially those times when you’re in a battle for a championship — that you aren’t competitive and you’ve really got to pull some things out of a hat and pull it off. It was nice to get in the top-10. Now let’s get even higher."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "Practice was cut short (in the morning practice) and I don’t think we got a ton of work done there. I’m just trying to learn some things and we’re out of time. We tried to use practice this morning as a bit of a test session since we didn’t get to run in the test session on Wednesday. Unfortunately that really put us back. All the things we are trying to do right now would have been nice to do last Wednesday but we’re doing them now unfortunately. To win from the back here is near impossible. I started in the back last year and fought hard all day to get in the top-11. There is nothing else that we can do but continue to fight hard."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "We lost a lot of track time since yesterday so we had a fairly limited time to prepare for qualifying. We tried really hard to put everything together and I think we performed well under the circumstances but since it’s a very tight field, we missed by 1 and a half tenths to advance to the next round of qualifying. It was a shame but at least now we know how the ABC Supply car is performing so we can continue to improve the car for tomorrow’s warm-up."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "Of course we would have loved to be on the pole. Starting 15th is not ideal when you’re going into the race as the points leader. We will need to work out a new strategy since we still start towards the rear of the field but the PPG guys are working hard to make the right changes to the car. Fortunately, for us today is only Saturday and the race will be tomorrow. We’re going to try something different because what we were planning on doing tomorrow strategy wise won’t work with as far back as we will have to start. We have not given up hope yet, tomorrow will be a long race and I know we’ll be able to make it back up."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "It was only about a tenth we missed it by and we had that on two different laps; the car had that and I made little mistakes. It’s the nature of the business with this qualifying format, you only get a couple laps to have a crack at it. We went out early and did an extra lap, but like I said, twice we had a car good enough to advance and just didn’t get it done. I feel bad for the guys, the GoDaddy Chevy is quicker than that. It’s a shame."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): ""We had a disappointing qualifying session obviously; we were not happy and super confident after the practice sessions. I thought we had a little better car than that, even though we were not able to get a good read on the car this morning. We have been dealing with a very loose car all weekend and we really haven’t been able to get the change we need. We anticipated some under steer, but it was worse than we thought. Just a little frustrating because it’s going to be a lot harder for the race since this place is so tough to make a pass. We will keep digging and keep fighting to see what we can get out of it."

E.J. VISO (Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo): "I qualified 12th – not too happy with that qualifying position. I think we had a little bit more speed in the car. We couldn’t finish our qualifying lap as we had traffic twice from (Tristan) Vautier. Starting in this position is definitely going to be a tough job tomorrow in the race, but I have a lot of faith that in the direction we are working in; we are going to find a good set up and a good strategy to bring a good race result tomorrow."

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS PRACTICE:

At 9:15 a.m., the ambient temperature was 66 degrees with a relative humidity of 92 percent and winds from the north at 3 mph. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 74 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

Due to the wet track conditions, teams have the option of using rain or dry tires for the session.

9:30 a.m. – GREEN. #26 Munoz is first on track.

9:34 a.m. – RED FLAG. #4 Goncalvez is off course in Turn 9.

9:37 a.m. – GREEN.

9:58 a.m. – RED FLAG. #6 Serenelli is off course in Turn 4.

10:04 a.m. – GREEN.

10:09 a.m. – #8 Karam and #77 Hawksworth on track for first time in the session.

10:15 a.m. – CHECKERED. #5 Dempsey is quickest at 1:17.5383. FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS PRACTICE:

Pos. Car Name Time
1. 5 Peter Dempsey 1:17.5383
2. 2 Juan Pablo Garcia 1:19.0055
3. 28 Axcil Jefferies 1:19.1317
4. 8 Sage Karam 1:19.2231
5. 77 Jack Hawksworth 1:19.6279

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING:
At 1 p.m., the ambient temperature was 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 61 percent and winds from the north-northeast at 3mph. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 99 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

•Top lap, event: #26 Carlos Munoz, 1:13.5625 (Friday practice)

1 p.m. – GREEN.

1:04 p.m. – RED FLAG. #8 Karam stopped off course in Turn 2 after light contact with the guardrail. Karam will lost fastest lap in the session for causing the red flag.

1:10 p.m. – GREEN.

1:20 p.m. – With 25 minutes remaining in the session, fastest is #5 Dempsey at 1:14.6552.

1:30 p.m. – With 15 minutes remaining in the session, fastest is #5 Dempsey at 1:14.4228.

1:32 p.m. – #7 Chaves takes P1 with a lap of 1:13.9336.

1:33 p.m. – #5 Dempsey takes P1 with a lap of 1:13.6942. LOCAL YELLOW in Turn 5. #28 Jefferies has spun is stopped on course.

1:38 p.m. – #8 Karam has returned to the track after crew made repairs to the car.

1:42 p.m. – #5 Dempsey lowers his fastest time to 1:13.647. #26 Munoz is P2 at 1:13.647.

1:45 p.m. – CHECKERED. #7 Chaves takes pole with a lap of 1:13.3306 on his final lap.

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING NOTES:

•This is the first career Firestone Indy Lights pole for Gabby Chaves. His previous best starting position was third this year at Pocono and Toronto.

•Peter Dempsey qualified second, matching his career-best qualifying performance. He has been on the front row four times, most recently at Edmonton in 2012. •Carlos Munoz failed to qualify on the front row for only the second time this season. He qualified fourth, the same position he qualified at Milwaukee.

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING QUOTES:

GABBY CHAVES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian): "I knew I had the car from the first lap. And we struggled in the practice, but we just kept our heads down and focused. Really, when my engineer told me ‘One lap to go, this is it,’ I put everything I had down on the table. I’m so happy, I’m so, so happy." (On how big the pole will mean for getting to his first victory) "Absolutely. We’ve yet to get on the front row for qualifying, so this is the first. For it to be a pole position and to get the first place on the starting grid for tomorrow, hopefully we’ll go for our first victory." (On how important qualifying up front is at Mid-Ohio) "Yeah, I think it’s going to be huge. My job is to get to the first corner first, and stay in front the whole race."

PETER DEMPSEY (No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing): "We had a tough weekend with gearbox trouble. We had two practices, and the first practice was damp this morning so we didn’t get much track time. We knew from the test we’d have a fast car here and we knew Gabby (Chaves) was going to be fast too. He just nipped me there at the end, so congratulations to him on the pole.

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian): "This wasn’t the qualifying session we were hoping for after we were fastest yesterday. The conditions changed a bit and we just weren’t quite as quick as we need to be. We’ll be ready for the race tomorrow though, and hope to make up a few positions on the track."

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian): "I went out there and pretty much repeated the same mistake I made in Toronto. I drive too hard on the first set of tires, and I’m not sure why I’m doing that. I’m always going for the Pole lap each time which is good, but I need to remember that I’m never going to win pole on the first set of tires. I dropped a wheel on the exit of Turn 1, hooked it and hit the inside wall. The team is so incredible. They worked so hard to get the car back out there at the end of the session which saved me a few spots for tomorrow. Those two or three spots on the grid are huge, but it’s going to be very tough."

JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "Our plan was to do three sets of tires for qualifying but we only used two sets. We didn’t make a really fast lap to be in the top 5 but we did a good job. We qualified P8. That’s not bad because I think we have a good car for tomorrow’s race. The car felt good but we still need to work on it to be better for the race."

GIANCARLO SERENELLI (No. 6 Belardi Auto Racing): "After yesterday I feel a lot more comfortable in the car. This morning was a good session for me because it was wet so I had a chance to feel the limits of the car which made me more comfortable going into qualifying. I started with a new set of tires and with each lap I felt more and more comfortable. When we switched to the second set of tires, I was only able to get one good lap with the new tires before there was a problem with the engine. I felt that I could’ve been closer to the fastest times as I got more confident with every lap but the engine problem stalled our progress."

***

SUNDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):

7 a.m. Garages open
11-11:30 a.m. IZOD IndyCar Series warmup
11:45 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights Mid-Ohio 100 pre-race
Noon Mid-Ohio 100 (40 laps/90.32 miles), NBC Sports Network (Taped, 2 p.m.)
2:35 p.m. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio pre-race
3:33 p.m. Command to start engines by Jack Hanna
3:40 p.m. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (90 laps/203.22 miles), NBC Sports Network (Live)
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