For the fourth 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 Saturday’s Sukup 100 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Guerrieri’s lap of 40.0332 seconds at 160.787 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 placed four cars in the top-six positions.

Starting next to Guerrieri on the front row will be Team Moore Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman with a lap of 40.3510 seconds at 159.520 mph.

For the second race in a row, SSM driver Bryan Clauson will start third in his No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records car with his lap of 40.3728 seconds at 159.434. SSM teammate and Indy Lights point leader Josef Newgarden, who turned a lap of 40.3794 seconds at 159.408 mph in his No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong car, will start next to Clauson on the outside of row two.

Guerrieri’s other Sunoco Pole Awards came at the races in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Calif., and last week in Milwaukee.  His effort today also earned Schmidt’s team its 41st Firestone Indy Lights pole.

SSM’s Victor Carbone turned in his best qualifying effort of the season (sixth) with his lap of 40.6436 seconds at 158.372 mph. That time will line him up on the outside of row three. Bryan Herta Autosport’s Duarte Ferreira will start inside of Carbone in fifth with his lap of 40.6018 seconds at 158.535 mph.

Guerrieri’s effort earned Sam Schmidt Motorsports its fourth consecutive pole, and the team has started on pole five of the six 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:  

“It feels so good to win another pole position. It is very important at this track to do the right thing in qualifying because it is difficult to overtake during the race. We are in really good shape for tomorrow, and I am pleased to start in the front. I was able to maximize on the short amount of time I had on the track and that is basically what motorsports is in Europe. It is all about making the most of the little time you have on the track. I try to be accurate and visualize in my head what my position on the track will be. This strategy has been working for me so far, but it wouldn’t work if I didn’t have a good car. I have to thank Sam Schmidt and the team because without them I couldn’t do it.”

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

“It was certainly not a bad run. We could have done a lot worse. I don’t think the damage (starting position) is too bad for tomorrow. It’s certainly another good day for Sam Schmidt Motorsports with a car on pole and having most of us in the top-five. That’s pleasing for the team. It bodes well for tomorrow because we always have good race cars, and that’s what we’ll focus on next and that is putting the best race car together for tomorrow.”


Bryan Clauson, Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records Sam Schmidt Motorsports/CURB Agajanian Entry:

“We were the first one out from the team, so we got to do some of the gear checking and things like that. We probably just picked the wrong gear. Esteban had a different one (gear). I don’t know if we could run what he ran, but I think we could have run second. We have a great race car for the race, and I’m eager for tomorrow.”

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

“Our (qualifying) run was better than at Milwaukee, but I could have done better. I don’t feel I was 100 percent. I need to trust the car more, and I’m not quite there yet. But, it’s a good sign that my qualifying was better. I still have a big learning curve for oval racing. Everything is still new to me.” 

Date:                          Friday, June 24, 2011

Event:                        Sukup 100 (Round 6 of 13)

Series:                       Firestone Indy Lights Series

Location:                  Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (.875-mile oval)

Pole Winner:           Esteban Guerrieri, Sam Schmidt Motorsports (40.0332 seconds at 160.787 mph)

SSM Lineup:            Esteban Guerrieri (1st, 40.0332 seconds at 160.787 mph)

                                    Bryan Clauson (3rd, 40.3728 seconds at 159.434 mph)

                                    Josef Newgarden (4th, 40.3794 seconds at 159.408 mph)

                                    Victor Carbone (6th, 40.6436 seconds at 158.372 mph)