Friday, April 30, 2010

Briscoe to Lead Field for Saturday's Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas

Photo Credit: Jim Haines

The last IZOD IndyCar race before preparations for the Indianapolis 500 on May 30th, Kansas Speedway represents the team's only oval tune-up in 2010 season. With teams fully Intended in being competitive on the 2.5 mile Brickyard, the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 lured a season-high 27 drivers and race cars. Joining the field this race is Jay Howard in a second Sarah Fisher Racing vehicle as well as John Andretti driving a #43 car in a joint venture between Richard Petty, Window World and Andretti Autosport.

As the first oval, IZOD IndyCar teams will receive their first competitive orientation to a new qualifying procedure for all ovals in 2010. Similar to the Indy 500 four-lap qualifying setup, the average of all four lap times will determine the starting order.

Taking right turns out of the equation for IZOD IndyCar drivers, the Kansas Speedway event for 200 laps around the 1.5 mile oval is guaranteed to provide the fastest average qualifying speeds of the early season. Taking the pole at a storming 212.146 mles per hour average per lap within a four-lap window, the #6 Penske Racing car in the hands of Ryan Briscoe grabbed honours. "It's great to win the pole. Team Penske has picked up from where it left off at Homestead last year. That's a good sign. Hopefully it's a sign of speed to come at Indy, as well." Briscoe asserted in a post-qualifying response.

The first of what proved to be a strong effort for the entire Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team, Scott Dixon placed a second-fastest qualifying effort. At a four-lap average time which accumulated at almost a mile per hour slower, Dixon is confident the his #9 car will make it up in the race tomorrow. "We come into this event with confidence and it is a nice place to race." Dixon said.

Some drivers are also viewing the Kansas Speedway race as a potential confidence builder after some less than stellar road course appearance. One of those drivers in need of a strong showing on ovals is 2009 IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti. With only one podium finish to show for 4 road course starts in the #10 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing car, Franchitti posted a 3rd place, his best 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series start since pole position in the Sao Paulo season opener.

4th and 5th place sported some surprise appearances of smaller IZOD IndyCar Series teams. Delivering the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing #06 to the best start of the year, Hideki Mutoh successfully transferred his 2 years of oval expertise from Andretti Autosport to N/H/L Racing. 4th overall in the session, Mutoh happily commented on the full team effort. "I'm very proud to be a member of this team and I know they have been working very hard in the off season to build new things for ovals. It looks like it worked out today." In 5th place on the grid for the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300, Alex Tagliani is continuing to make waves with the first year FAZZT Race Team.

Other qualifying stories through the Friday Kansas Speedway session reflects on the reversal of fortunes for two drivers, one moving up on the grid and the other down. Struggling through the initial four road and street races, Danica Patrick and placed her #7 Andretti Autosport car in a respectable 9th position, leading the four-team. On the other hand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson had a lousy outing in Kansas Speedway qualifying. The slow #22 car actually caught the driver by surprise as Wilson felt comfortable with the vehicle's handling. "I can't believe we were not quicker. I'm going over the data with my engineers right now to see if there is any drag on the car and fix that."

In a final but imporant note, overall IZOD IndyCar point standing's leader Will Power will start 7th on Saturday afternoon. Having raced only Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season, his performance on the tracks he had missed with the #12 Verizon Penske Racing team last year might pose the greatest challenge to the Australian.

Photo Credit: Ron McQueeney

Scheduled to run Saturday, broadcast of the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 will take place on ABC at 1:00PM.

2010 Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway IZOD IndyCar Series Starting Grid

1. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
2. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
3. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
4. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
5. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
6. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Enterprises
7. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
8. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
9. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
10. 24 Mike Conway/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
11. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
12. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
13. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports
14. 67 Sarah Fisher/United States/ Sarah Fisher Racing
15. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
16. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
17. John Andretti/American/ Team Window World
18. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
19. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
20. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
21. 66 Jay Howard/England/Sarah Fisher Racing
22. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
23. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing
25. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
26. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
27. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing

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