Esteban Guerrieri, from Buenos Aries, Argentina, led the four-car Sam Schmidt Motorsports team today in time trials for Sunday’s Firestone Indy Lights Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.
Driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/SSM car, Guerrieri turned a qualifying lap of 55.1765 seconds at191.659 mph which was the fifth-fastest time in qualifying. It’s only the fourth time in 12 races this season that Guerrieri has not started on the front row.
Starting next to Guerrieri on the outside of the third row is SSM teammate and Firestone Indy Lights Series points leader Josef Newgarden. His lap of 56.1912 at 189.638 mph, in his No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo Pong/SSM car, was sixth-fastest. Newgarden only needs to start tomorrow’s race and he will be the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights Series Champion.
SSM’s Victor Carbone turned in a strong qualifying effort in the No. 3 Nevoni/SSM car with his lap of 56.1940 seconds at 189.629 mph. That time will line him up on the inside of the fourth row in seventh, directly behind Guerrieri on the track.
SSM’s fourth Indy Lights driver, Bryan Clauson, will start 11th after what he called a “disappointing” qualifying run. In cold temperatures, Clauson spun his No. 77 Mazda Road To Indy/Curb Records SSM car while leaving pit road to start his qualifying run. The spin resulted in flat spots on all four of his tires, causing a serious vibration during his qualifying run. His best lap was 56.9284 at 187.182 mph.
Andretti Autosports Stefan Wilson grabbed the pole for Sunday’s Kentucky 100 with a lap of 55.5988 at 191.659 mph. Starting next to Wilson on the front row will be TMR-Davey Hamilton Racing’s Brandon Wagner with his lap of 55.8955 seconds at 190.641 mph.
Belardi Auto Racing teammates Jacob Wilson and Jorge Concalvez will start third and fourth, just ahead of the row of Guerrieri and Newgarden. Wilson stopped the clocks at 56.0216 at 190.212 mph, while Concalvez turned a lap of 56.1193 at 189.881 mph.
This is Wilson’s first Sunoco Pole Award in his Firestone Indy Lights career. His previous best start was second at Toronto earlier this season and at Watkins Glen in 2010.
The Kentucky 100 will be the first time in 2011 that an SSM driver has not been on the front row of a Firestone Indy Lights Series.
Live coverage of Sunday’s Kentucky 100 begins at Noon ET on Versus.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011
Event: Kentucky 100 (Round 12 of 13)
Series: Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile, tri-oval)
Pole Winner: Stefan Wilson, Andretti Autosport (55.5988 seconds at 191.659 mph)
SSM Lineup: Esteban Guerrieri (5th, 56.1765 seconds at 189.688 mph)
Josef Newgarden (6th, 56.1912 seconds at 189.638 mph)
Victor Carbone (7th, 56.1940 seconds at 189.629 mph)
Bryan Clauson (11th, 56.9284 seconds at 187.182 mph)