Honda Grand Prix of Alabama- Firestone Indy Lights Qualifying

Date:                  Saturday, April 9, 2011
Event:                 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Round 2 of 13)
Series:                Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location:            Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. (2.3-mile, 17-turn road course)
Pole Winner:      Victor Garcia, Team Moore Racing (1:17.2793 at 107.144 mph)
SSM Lineup:      Esteban Guerrieri (2nd, 1:17.3080 at 107.104 mph)
Conor Daly (4th, 1:17.3463 at 107.051 mph)
Josef Newgarden (7th, 1:17.8179 at 106.402 mph)
Victor Carbone (9th, 1:18.0844 at 106.039 mph)

For the second race in a row, Argentinian driver Esteban Guerrieri led the four-car Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) contingent in Firestone Indy Lights Series qualifying by putting the No. 7 Lucas/SSM racecar second on the grid for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama event at Barber Motorsports Park just east of Birmingham, Ala.

Guerrieri turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 17.3080 seconds (107.104 mph) on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road circuit to take the outside-front-row starting position behind polesitter Victor Garcia of Team Moore Racing. Guerrieri started on the pole two weekends ago at the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and finished sixth.

SSM’s Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden and Victor Carbone qualified fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively.

Daly, in the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM entry, turned a fast lap of 1:17.3463 (107.051 mph) to take the outside-second-row starting spot for Sunday’s race. Newgarden, in the No. 11 Robo-Pong/SSM entry, took the inside-fourth-row starting spot with a lap of 1:17.8179 (106.402 mph), while Carbone, in the No. 3 Nevoni/SSM entry, will be on the inside of the fifth row after turning a lap of 1:18.0844 (106.039 mph).

Joining Garcia, Guerrieri and Daly in the top-five are Stefan Wilson of Andretti Autosport, who qualified in the third position, and Anders Krohn of Belardi Auto Racing, the fifth qualifier.

Race time for Sunday’s 45-minute race is 1 p.m. EDT with live television provided by VERSUS.

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

“It was tight qualifying today especially with that full-course yellow flag that forced everyone to pit. Our pit box was in the back of pit lane so that wasn’t good for us because I only got one full lap in after I went back out after the yellow, and the lap was in traffic. The rest of the field was able to get two full laps after the yellow and that is where Victor Garcia got me, but the car is good and we are going to fight back in the race. The car is very smooth and it is nice to drive so I feel confident heading into the race tomorrow. We are in a good position sitting on the front row. The track still isn’t as good as it was in the open test in March but it is getting better.”

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

“It was unfortunate that we were this far back in the pit lineup. That was kind of unfortunate. It was just a struggle for us to find a bit of clear track. My teammates all around me, it was just hard to judge when to go. Josef got the best of us because he got to go out before us. It was my fault a bit in trying to get the gap. I just got it a bit wrong. We’ll see how the race goes. The car is good. The speed is there. We were first or second the whole session. It was just unfortunate there at the end.”

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

“I’m just disappointed for the guys. We had high expectations for this track. This is one of my favorites, too. I love this track, and I was hoping to do a great job for them out there and I feel like I let them down a bit. That’s OK. It’s just qualifying. The big show’s on Sunday. We’ll regroup and try and put a good racecar together and try and attack for the highest position we can get in the race. Anything can happen. It’s a long race. We’ll see what we can make happen.”

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

“At the beginning, the conditions were better and then the track started to heat up. We were P4 for a while, but the times started dropping. We are good and I am eager to see what I can do tomorrow. “