For the fifth 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 today for Sunday’s Toronto 100 at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.

Guerrieri’s lap of 1:02.9865 seconds at 100.307 mph in his No. 7 Lucas Oil car led the four-car Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) team in Indy Lights Series qualifying today. He was the only driver to go below the one minute, two second mark, and his lap also was the only one with an average speed above 100 mph on the tight and bumpy 1.755-mile street course.

Overall, it was a good showing by the Schmidt team as it placed its four cars in the top-10.

Guerrieri’s SSM teammate and Indy Lights point leader Josef Newgarden, who turned a lap of 1:03.5964 seconds at 99.348 mph in his No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong car, will start fifth Sunday. Daniel Herrington, subbing for Conor Daly in SSM’s No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy car here and in Edmonton in two weeks, qualified seventh with a lap of 1:03.7797 seconds at 99.060.

SSM’s Victor Carbone will line up ninth with his lap of 1:04.1278 seconds at 98.522 mph.

Starting next to Guerrieri on the front row will be Andretti Autosport’s Sefan Wilson with a lap 1:03.2450 at 99.897 mph. It marks Wilson’s best start of the year. Wilson’s teammate Peter Dempsey will start third with a lap of 1:03.3321 at 99.760. Anders Krohn, driving the No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing car, will start fourth with his lap of 1:034809 at 99.526 mph.

Guerrieri’s other 2011 Sunoco Pole Awards have come at the races in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Calif., Milwaukee and Iowa. His effort today also earned Schmidt’s team its 42nd Firestone Indy Lights pole.

Guerrieri’s effort also gave Sam Schmidt Motorsports its fifth consecutive pole, and the team has started on pole six of the seven races in 2011. An SSM driver has also been on the front row at the start of all six Firestone Indy Lights Series races so far in 2011.

Esteban Guerrieri, Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:  

“Since the beginning, everything worked quite well. We were quick (July 8) and we saved the tires for qualifying this morning. I love the circuit, I love the city, the atmosphere, everything, so I had a lot of fun. The reward for the guys is the best I can give them, so I’m very grateful to them and to my sponsors.””

Josef Newgarden, Driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

“This qualifying session was a little bit frustrating. It’s one of the few times this year it has been. I think we had a little bit more in the bag there for sure. We had a little bit of miscommunication with an issue with our radios. That was unfortunate. Obviously, there were a lot of little yellows there at the end. That didn’t help. It wasn’t easy for anyone, but traffic wasn’t really an issue out there today. We just had a few little issues with the radios and so on. But we’re working through them in each session. Overall I think we’re going to have a good race car for the race as we always do. You are going to have to be very calculated here in the race. It’s a very difficult track with all the bumps and how narrow it is. Guys can easily overstep it and certainly make the wrong decision at times. It’s going to be a difficult time for everyone to keep a cool head early on and make good decisions throughout the day.”


Daniel Herrington, Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

“Considering how well we were doing yesterday and this morning, I’m not actually that happy. I think we should have been up there further. There were some laps there that just didn’t come together. These guys (SSM crew) have been doing a great job all weekend, and we’ll just see if we can have a better race. It’s a street course, so you have to attack, attack, attack the whole time. That’s our plan.”

Victor Carbone, Driver of the No. 3 Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

“We just plan on having a heads-up race and see how it goes. It’s a very rough track to learn in a short amount of time. We’ll just have to see how tomorrow goes. I’m getting faster, but it’s coming slowly.” 

Date:                          Saturday, July 9, 2011

Event:                        Toronto 100 (Round 7 of 13)

Series:                       Firestone Indy Lights Series

Location:                  Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada (1.755-mile street course)

Pole Winner:           Esteban Guerrieri, Sam Schmidt Motorsports (1:02.9865 seconds at 100.307 mph)

SSM Lineup:            Esteban Guerrieri (1st, 1:02.9865 seconds at 100.307 mph)

                                    Josef Newgarden (5th, 1:03.2450 seconds at 99.897 mph)

                                    Daniel Herrington (7th, 1:03.7797 seconds at 99.060 mph)

                                    Victor Carbone (9th, 1:04.1278 seconds at 98.522 mph)