Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fine Nine Gets A Taste Of Richmond Short Track

RIR Logo on trackside wall. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

The Fine Nine Gets A Taste Of Richmond Short Track

The rookie run of the Fine Nine continued its ninth start at qualifications in fairly good style. The short track yielded a few surprises along the way and a blend of drivers started to make a showing that even surprised some of the established teams.

Bruno Junqueira in an unhappy moment befor qualifications. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

First off, Bruno Junqueira, read the riot act to his Dale Coyne team after not being able to compete last week in Iowa. His car crashed in Iowa and the team worried whither they would have it ready for Richmond or not. When they hit the track in Virginia, the rebuilt Z-Line sponsored car ran well and was able to qualify in the top ten at position 9.

In a special Rookie practice held on Thursday, the current leader in the Rookie Of The Year point chase, Heideki Mutoh from the established team, Andretti Green Racing, elected NOT to participate. This didn’t bother his qualification though as he was able to clock in at position seven.

The biggest surprise was delivered by the driver from Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing who won the second race of the season by qualifying in position 3, right behind Andretti Green Teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti.

Tony and Marco discuss events of the day at Richmond. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

This Excerpted from -

Family Matters
By Dave Lewandowski -

RICHMOND, Va. - Tony Kanaan, the senior member of the Andretti Green Racing quartet, called a family meeting before the race earlier this week at Iowa Speedway. He wanted to clear the air, get everyone on the same page and communicate like the "old days."

Aside from his mistake late in the 250-lap race after leading 71 laps, which resulted in a Turn 1 single-car crash, the team scored its best cumulative result in quite a while (rookie Hideki Mutoh was second, Marco Andretti third and Danica Patrick sixth).

Tony Kanaan on the button at Richmond International Raceway. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

Five days later, the vibe continued at another short track - the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway. Kanaan posted a four-lap cumulative time of 1 minute, 04.333 seconds (167.876 mph average) in garnering the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by Advance Auto Parts - his first on an oval since last August (1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway). Andretti will start next to the No. 11 7-Eleven car in the 300-lap SunTrust Indy Challenge.

Peak Pole award winner Tony Kanaan and Andretti Green 7-11 Team. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

They are separated by three 10-thousanths of a second -- less time than it takes to snap your fingers or blink. Don't blink on race day, whether you're watching from the grandstands or on ESPN, or you might miss just about anything. Andretti posted a four-lap average of 167.795 mph (1:04.3642) in the No. 26 Blockbuster car.

It's the seventh time AGR cars have started 1-2 and the 36th overall in IndyCar Series history.

Graham Rahal will start third (1:04.5740; 167.250) and IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon fourth (1:04.6242; 167.120). Buddy Rice recorded his first top five and top 10 starting position of the season (1:04.7467; 166.804) in the No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car and will share Row 3 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon (1:04.7606; 166.768), the winner at Iowa Speedway.
Vision Racing's A.J. Foyt IV, who posted his first top five of the season at Iowa, will start eighth in the No. 2 Lilly Diabetes car (166.126) and Bruno Junqueira grabbed his best starting spot (ninth; 166.032) in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car for Dale Coyne Racing. He'll share Row 5 with Oriol Servia (165.815) in the No. 5 KV Racing Technology car.

John Andretti continued to post positive results for Roth Racing and will start 12th (165.275) - next to Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe (165.643) on Row 6. Helio Castroneves' streak of 11 top-10 starts came to an end. Castroneves, a two-time pole sitter at Richmond and second in the standings, will start 18th in the No. 3 Team Penske car.

"Qualifying certainly is an experience," said Andretti, who has made more than 20 stock car starts at Richmond but none in the IndyCar Series. "I like the four-lap average thing. You've got to make it happen four times; you can't hold your breath for one lap and make it in. Richmond International Raceway doesn't even look the same when you're going around in an IndyCar instead of a stock car. We'll see how we race."

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who topped the combined practice chart (166.664; 16.2003) in the No. 17 Ethanol car for Rahal Letterman Racing, will start 25th after not making a qualifying attempt because of an issue related to the electrical loom to the gearbox. Enrique Bernoldi, whose No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing car sustained damage in a morning practice crash, went through a systems check and will start 26th
Reference Here>>

Oriol Servia of KV Racing Technology and Justin Wilson of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing confer with IRL official before qualifications begin. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

How The Fine Nine Fared:

SP Car Driver Hometown Car Name Entrant Time Speed

3 06 R Graham Rahal Columbus, Ohio Hole in the Wall Camps Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 1:04.5740 167.250

9 18 Bruno Junqueira Belo Horizonte, Brazil Z-Line Designs Dale Coyne Racing 1:05.0477 166.032

10 5 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 1:05.1330 165.815

16 8 R Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia KV Racing Technology 1:05.7251 164.321

19 33 R E.J. Viso Caracas, Venezuela PDVSA HVM Racing HVM Racing 1:06.1887 163.170

20 19 R Mario Moraes Sao Paulo, Brazil Sonny's Bar-B-Q Dale Coyne Racing 1:06.4344 162.566

23 02 R Justin Wilson Sheffield, England McDonald's Racing Team Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 1:07.6470 159.652

24 34 R Jaime Camara Goiania, Brazil Sangari Conquest Racing 1:07.9741 158.884

26 36 R Enrique Bernoldi Curitiva, Brazil Sangari Conquest Racing Conquest Racing no time no speed
Reference Full Grid Here

... notes from The EDJE

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