Hornish, Jr. To Pace Closest Field In Irl IndyCar Series In "The Belterra Casino Indy 300"
Sam Hornish, Jr., will pace a 20-car field separated by only 0.5367 of a second in qualifying time for tomorrow's Indy Racing League IndyCar Series "Belterra Casino Indy 300" at Kentucky Speedway.
The field is separated by the closest margin in IRL IndyCar Series history. The previous record was set in 1999 in Atlanta when a 25-car field was separated by 0.620 of a second.
Hornish, Jr., posts his first MBNA Pole Award of the season and the third of his career after turning his fastest qualifying lap at 219.614 mph.
"We're all really excited about this race," he said. "We didn't do too much qualifying setup stuff in the morning practices, we just really worked on our racecar. I think we had a better racecar than we did a qualifying car, we'll see what happens tomorrow."
The two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion enters tomorrow's event seventh in the series standings. He trails series leader Tony Kanaan by 101 points with five races remaining in the season.
Kanaan qualified 11th with a fastest lap of 217.453 mph.
"We worked on the race setup all weekend," Kanaan said. "We knew this morning that I couldn't be very competitive, so I just adjusted to in the race setup. It seems to be working fine for us, so we'll see what's going to happen tomorrow. We're just going to try to go for it and try to move to the front."
Hornish, Jr., will look to chart his third straight top-five finish tomorrow after taking his season-best second-place finish at Michigan on July 27 and a sixth-place finish at Gateway International Raceway last week.
He will drive with the new Chevrolet Gen IV engine for the second time this season. His No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone also was powered by the Gen IV at Michigan. "The Belterra Casino Indy 300" will mark the first time this season five Chevrolet drivers will be paced by the new power plant.
"Chevrolet really went out on a limb and did what they had to do to be able to put us up here and be able to be fast," Hornish, Jr., said.
Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G-Force/Toyota/Firestone) rounded out the first row by qualifying with a lap of 219.614 mph.
Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone) and Gil de Ferran (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone) make up the second row. Castroneves turned his fastest lap at 219.309 mph and de Ferran was just behind with a lap of 219.297 mph.
"It was a pretty good qualifying session for Marlboro Team Penske with Gil and I starting in the top five," Castroneves said. "Our performance on the mile-and-a-half ovals has been better this season, so hopefully we can execute tomorrow. Patience will be the key. It should be a very competitive race."
Tickets for tomorrow's "Belterra Casino Indy 300" are available at 1-888-652-RACE, www.kentuckyspeedway.com, Tickets.com and Tickets.com outlets in Meijer, Hader Hardware and Play-It-Again Sports Stores until 9:00 p.m. tonight. Fans also can purchase tickets at the Kentucky Speedway main entrance at Gate 16 beginning tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
The day features a pre-race concert by Sixpence None The Richer and an autograph session with Don Mueller and family from the reality series "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?"
~ Kentucky Speedway ~