NEWTON, Iowa, Friday, June 22, 2012 – When the green flag drops Saturday night for the Firestone Indy Lights’ Sukup 100 at Iowa Speedway, it will be the sixth time in the history of the series that teammates will have started 1-2-3. And each time, it’s been Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) drivers at the front of the pack.
SSM’s Tristan Vautier, Esteban Guerrieri and Victor Carbone will lead the field to the start of the 100-mile race. Oliver Webb, SSM’s fourth driver, will start sixth.
Vautier, the Firestone Indy Lights points leader, captured his third Sunoco pole award of 2012 Friday with his two-lap time of 40.2368 seconds at 159.973 mph in his No. 77 Mazda Road To Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. The young Frenchman’s other poles came at St. Petersburg and last week in Milwaukee.
Driving the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, Guerrieri posted a two-lap time of 40.3316 seconds at 159.597 mph, which puts him on the front row with Vautier. It will be the third time he has started on the front row in 2012.
Brazilian Victor Carbone will start third in his No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car with his two-lap time of 40.3707 seconds at 159.442 mph. It is Carbone’s fifth top-five start of 2012.
SSM’s Oliver Webb will start sixth in his No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car after he posted a two-lap time of 40.5388 seconds at 158.742 mph. This will be just be Webb’s fourth oval race of his career.
Vautier’s pole is the fourth pole won by SSM in 2012 and is the team’s 52nd pole in Firestone Indy Lights. Webb won the pole at Belle Isle in Detroit to go along with Vautier’s three poles.
Andretti Autosport’s Sebastian Saavedra will start fourth and next to Carbone in Row 2. Team Moore’s David Ostella rounds out the top five.
The Firestone Indy Lights Sukup 100 will be aired in its entirety on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) Saturday night, June 23 at midnight, immediately following the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Live radio coverage, as well as timing and scoring, of all on-track activity can be heard on IndyCar.com.
DATE: Friday, June 22, 2012
EVENT: Sukup 100 Qualifying
SERIES: Firestone Indy Lights Series
LOCATION: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (7/8-mile oval)
POLE WINNER: Tristan Vautier of Sam Schmidt Motorsports
SSM DRIVERS: Tristan Vautier (1st with a two-lap time of 40.2368 at 159.973 mph)
Esteban Guerrieri (2nd with a two-lap time of 40.3316 at 159.597 mph)
Victor Carbone (3rd with a two-lap time of 40.3707 at 159.442 mph)
Oliver Webb (6th with a two-lap time of 40.5388 at 158.742 mph)
Tristan Vautier (Qualified 1st), Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM Dallara:
“The car was just stuck on the track. It was a bullet. I just had to keep it flat and be careful with my ends, do a good job with the lines I was taking, and I’m really happy. We were good in practice again and had another good position with the draw, so that was nice even if it doesn’t count as much here in Iowa. I’m very happy and big thanks to the guys. Obviously the car matters a lot on this track, so my team gave me a great car and so really a big thanks to SSM. It’s very good to have our third pole of the season. But as they say, qualifying is only two laps, tomorrow there is 115 to complete, so it’s going to be very tough, going to be a long race, tough race, so we have to stay focused and make the most of the practice we have tomorrow to prepare for the race as best we can.”
Esteban Guerrieri (Qualified 2nd), Driver of the No. 11 Pistas Argentina/SSM Dallara:
“It was a good lap and these cars are all very closely matched. It is a good place to start. Last year I started first and crashed, so second will hopefully be better for me and the team. I am very proud of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports – qualifying 1-2-3 is very nice. I expect it to be a very good race and there will passing on the high side if people are going to be passing tomorrow. I hope we all have a good race tomorrow and the whole team does well, but I want to be the one to win this week. It will be a long race and we just need to be running at the end – not like last year.”
Victor Carbone (Qualified 3rd), Driver of the No. 3 Max TV/Nevoni/SSM Dallara:
“The car was pretty good. Nothing to complain about at all. It’s really important to start up front at a track like this. It can be hard to pass here. Hopefully, I’ll get a good start. That will be crucial tomorrow. I’ll have to see how the race plays out to decide when to pass. Traffic will be a factor in determining that as well.”
Oliver Webb (Qualified 6th), Driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil/SSM Dallara:
“I like Iowa Speedway. It’s challenging. Everyone talks about the bump and getting rid of it. But the bump kind of gives it a little bit of character that people talk about. Without it, people would be comparing the track to Vegas and how easy it would be. The ovals are still my weak thing. We know I can pole and podium on street courses because I’ve always done them. I just need to work on my oval racing.”