At the race track located at the Wisconsin State Fair, the sixth race of the season in Milwaukee is bearing the fruit that many felt would never happen with the move to unification when it was announced late last February.
Of the ten drivers for teams that originally started the 2008 season as ChampCar World Series organizations, half of the ten filled half of the spots available in the first five rows of two during qualifications today. That translates to five of the top ten positions.
To put it another way, eleven of the remaining sixteen positions (for a total field of 26 cars) are filled by drivers from established IRL teams.
Graham Rahal being interviewed just after father, Bobby Rahal tapped him on the helmet after setting the fastest pace at the time. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (The EDJE) 2008
The other real story involves the names of the two drivers who occupy the top two positions. An Andretti and a Rahal, again, are the two names that top the charts of American open wheel racing. This edition of the show features the spawn of champions past.
Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing laid down the gauntlet about halfway through the late afternoon qualification session in Milwaukee with an average time of 1:27.1796 with a speed of 167.654. He was only challenged once during the qualifying session. He was challenged once later in the run of his four lap session by Helio Castroneves/Penske Racing who eventually ended up in the third qualifying position just behind Scott Dixon/Target Chip Ganassi Racing before the runs laid down by Marco Andretti/Andretti Green Racing then Will Power/KV Racing Technology.
It was Marco Andretti, the second youngest driver in the series to win an IRL race though (the youngest being Graham Rahal). Andretti made the most impressive run. His average time for the four laps was 1:26.9591 for a speed of 168.079. The last driver to qualify, Will Power, was fast enough to drop Castroneves to fifth, who was just ahead of Tony Kanaan with Andretti Green Racing in sixth.
The T-Team Ten Qualification Positions For The ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Indy 225 - The Milwaukee Mile :: Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
POS./Car # Driver, Time/Speed, Team, Sponsor
02/06 Graham Rahal, 1:27.1796/167.654, NHL, No Sponsor
04/ 8 Will Power, 1:27.3822/167.265, KVRT, Aussie Vineyards
08/36 Enrique Bernoldi, 1:28.4660/165.216, CR, Sangari
09/ 5 Oriol Servia, 1:28.4802/165.190, KVRT, Plantronics
10/33 EJ Viso, 1:28.6663/164.843, HVM, PDVSA
14/18 Bruno Junqueira, 1:29.6011/163.123, DCR, Z-Line
22/02 Justin Wilson, 1:31.3917/159.927, NHL, Mc Donald’s
23/19 Mario Moraes, 1:33.9809/155.511, DCR, Sonny’s BBQ
24/34 Jaime Camara, 1:34.5329/154.613, CR, No Sponsor
25/96 Mario Dominguez, 1:37.3937/150.071, PCM, Visit Mexico City
Full Qualification Results Here
Pacific Coast Motorsports released this statement from Mario Dominguez:
"We are learning about the car. It is very difficult to make a lot of progress without much practice time. We just have to be patient, it is not a one-day thing and we will keep improving.
For us right now, it is not really about the position we are in, but more about gaining the experience of track time. But, obviously today the car is not where we want it.
I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow. It will be great for me and for the team to get back into race mode, strategy and pitstops. Finishing the race is the most important thing right now, so we can get as many laps as possible in changing conditions to learn about the cars behavior."
... notes from The EDJE