For the third time this year, Argentinian driver Esteban Guerrieri won the Sunoco Pole Award in qualifying for a Firestone Indy Lights Series race when he recorded the fastest time and speed for Sunday’s David Hobbs 100 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
Guerrieri’s lap of 49.0454 seconds at 149.005 mph in his No. 7 Lucas Oil car led the four-car Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) team in Indy Lights Series qualifying today. It was a strong showing by the Schmidt team as it dominated qualifying by capturing the top-three starting positions.
Starting next to Guerrieri on the front row will be SSM teammate and Indy Lights points leader Josef Newgarden, who turned a lap of 49.3199 seconds at 148.175 in his No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong car. In just his second Indy Lights race, SSM driver Bryan Clauson will start third in his No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy car with his lap of 49.6273 seconds at 147.258.
Guerrieri’s other Sunoco Pole Awards came at the races in St. Petersburg and Long Beach, Calif. His effort today also earned Schmidt’s team its 40th Firestone Indy Lights pole.
SSM’s Victor Carbone qualified 10th in his No. 3 Nevoni car.
Following Guerrieri, Newgarden and Clausen in the top five are Gustavo Yacaman (49.6573 seconds at 147.169 mph) in fourth and Anders Krohn (50.0900 seconds at 145.897) in fifth.
The David Hobbs 100 will mark the third time this year that Sam Schmidt Motorsports has occupied the front row for the start of a race, and at least one SSM driver has been on the front row at the start of all five races so far in 2011.
Esteban Guerrieri, Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“We ran really close to the wall. It worked for us and the entire team, qualifying 1-2-3. Big congratulations to Sam Schmidt. I’m happy for my crew. Oval track qualifying is still new to me, and I like how you go out one-at-a-time. You get to see how everyone is doing. But in some ways, it’s still the same because you want to go flat out and attack it 100 percent. I think I could’ve gone flat out the second lap. I had lifted just a little in (turns) one and two on the first lap. After I knew that lap was good enough, I just decided to do the same thing and lift a little in one and two. The car was perfect and I thank the Sam Schmidt team for that.”
Josef Newgarden, Driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“Today was my first time qualifying on an oval after the Freedom 100 qualifying was canceled a few weeks ago due to rain. It was unfortunate, but luckily Bryan Clauson and I started first and second for the race. We were just discussing qualifying earlier today and strategizing because we had a rough time in practice yesterday. We didn’t think we should be that far off so we were struggling to figure out why this was the case. This was a great day for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, and we are starting 1-2-3. This will be great for us during the race to be up front together.”
Bryan Clauson, Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“This qualifying is different from anything I have ever done before. Driving the Firestone Indy Lights car on this oval has been a learning curve for me. After the first practice session today, I felt like I had a good handle on things, but then I went into the second practice session and I was struggling to understand why I was off on my pace. We started to gain speed at the end of the last practice and then Josef Newgarden’s qualifying run gave me hope. We made some of the similar adjustments and we weren’t able to get quite as much out of our run, but we are starting in third and I feel that this is a great way to start the weekend.”
Victor Carbone, Driver of the No. 3 Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“We did some qualifying runs in practice, but this is disappointing because I did much better in practice. The track was pretty much the same, so it is frustrating.”
Date: Saturday, June 18, 2011
Event: The David Hobbs 100 (Round 5 of 13)
Series: Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location: The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis. (1-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Esteban Guerrieri, Sam Schmidt Motorsports (49.0454 seconds at 149.005 mph)
SSM Lineup: Esteban Guerrieri (1st, 49.0454 seconds at 149.005 mph)
Josef Newgarden (2rd, 49.3199 seconds at 148.175 mph)
Bryan Clauson (3rd, 49.6273 seconds at 147.258 mph)
Victor Carbone (10th, 51.1085 seconds at 142.990 mph)