Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong car, led a sweep of the top three starting spots by Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) drivers during qualifying for Sunday’s New Hampshire 100 Firestone Indy Lights Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Newgarden’s two-lap cumulative time of 49.4908 seconds at an average speed of 149.119 mph around the 1.025-mile oval earned him his second pole position of the season and his first at New Hampshire. The Hendersonville, Tenn., native also won the pole for the first of two races at the Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) City Centre Airport circuit last month.
Bryan Clauson, driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records car for SSM, will start alongside Newgarden as he clocked in at 49.9075 seconds at 147.874 mph to score his best career qualifying effort in the Firestone Indy Light Series. Twice before he has qualified third – in June at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis., and later that month at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Clauson started on the pole for the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but time trials were rained out and the starting line-up was determined by owner points.
Esteban Guerrieri, driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil car for SSM, was third after stopping the clocks at 50.2753 seconds at 146.792 mph. Anders Krohn (50.4569 seconds at 146.263 mph) and Duarte Ferreira (51.7405 seconds at 142.635 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Victor Carbone, the fourth member of SSM and driver of the No. 3 Nevoni car, qualified ninth in the 12-car field with a time of 52.3490 seconds at 140.977 mph.
Josef Newgarden, Driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“From what I was hearing from the guys, I think we got a bit of luck being able to go last and having everyone else clean the track, but certainly not too much. It sounded like the track was very good right from the beginning. As soon as I saw Esteban (Guerrieri) post that time, it was just miles ahead of anybody. I thought he was just going to run away with it again. It would have been great for the team but we want to get poles as well this year. I’m very elated for the whole group. It’s big for us to get results like this.”
Bryan Clauson, Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“The team gave me a great car and I feel great being back in the Firestone Indy Lights car. I took a month off from driving this car and I had to get back in the seat and give it all I had. We based our car this weekend off of our set-up in Milwaukee since that was our only other short oval this year and Iowa runs more like a speedway. That was a heck of a lap that Josef (Newgarden) just laid down. He did a great job there and we will just have to beat him into Turn 1 tomorrow. It will be a long race and we have a great race car here. I felt like I had the best of the Sam Schmidt group here, but didn’t get quite enough out of it to win the pole. It was a great effort for our guys and our team and you see SSM 1-2-3. I felt like I might have left a little bit out on the table, but I don’t think I could have put up a lap like he did.”
Esteban Guerrieri, Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“I think it was a pretty good run. I tried to make my warm up laps progressively quicker. I probably left a bit on my last warm up lap, so when I came out of turn four to take the green flag my speed wasn’t the best. It was a couple of good laps though, so I’m happy.”
Victor Carbone, Driver of the No. 3 Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
“It was OK. I think I could have done better, but I’m still learning. It’s quite a challenge to trust the car on cold tires, but it’s getting better.”
Date: Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011
Event: New Hampshire 100 (Round 11 of 13)
Series: Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH (1.025-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Josef Newgarden, Sam Schmidt Motorsports (49.4908 seconds at 149.119 mph)
SSM Lineup: Josef Newgarden (1st, 49.4908 seconds at 149.119 mph)
Bryan Clauson (2nd, 49.9075 seconds at 147.874 mph)
Esteban Guerrieri (3rd, 50.2753 seconds at 146.792 mph)
Victor Carbone (9th, 52.3490 seconds at 140.977 mph)