Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire qualifying
Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton became the sixth different Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire driver to win a pole during the 2015 season. The 24 year-old immediately dedicated the pole to Jules Bianchi, his two-year teammate at Marussia Formula 1 that just passed away yesterday.
Chilton’s scorching qualification effort of 162.293mph bests the previous Iowa Speedway qualifying record of 161.306mph set by Wade Cunningham in 2007.
Chilton said that prior to this weekend ovals were quite “alien” to him and he finally had his “ah-hah” moment during practice at the Iowa bullpen.
It was the fourth pole for Carlin and that is spread among three different drivers.
Spencer Pigot, currently second in points was the first driver to take to the Iowa Speedway for qualifying and was the first driver on the board with an average of 158.468mph. That was only good enough to secure the ninth best starting spot on the eleven car grid.
Pigot said they don’t have the speed this weekend, but hopes that his car will be better in the race.
Juan Piedrahita who is the only Mazda Road To Indy driver this weekend to make a second start at Iowa Speedway and turned a two lap average of 158.685 to just knock Pigot off the provisional pole, but that time is only good enough for eighth on the grid.
Next out on track were the four Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian drivers, who had absolutely dominated the practice sessions yesterday.
Championship leader Jack Harvey was the first of the four SPM with Curb-Agajanian drivers to qualify and his qualifying effort of 161.892 mph was a full 3.2 mph quicker than provisional pole-sitter Piedrahita.
The pole sitter for the Freedom 100 at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ethan Ringel was the fifth driver on track and his two lap run was not quite able to match his teammate, but his 161.881mph will slot the GP3 grad into the 4th starting position.
Milwaukee runner-up RC Enerson was the next driver out on track and he will start outside the third row.
The last Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian driver to take a shot at teammate Harvey was Scott Anderson, but his 161.212mph two lap average left him third of his four teammates.
Next out on track was Ed Jones, currently third in the championship, and his qualifying run was huge surprise. As a team Carlin could only manage the fifth and sixth best practice times, but Jones’ two lap average of 162.047mph made it abundantly clear they had made improvements over night.
Jones told IndyCar radio that he had made a personal improvement and thought they could have run less downforce. The Emerati based driver than said that his teammate Chilton was running less wing and should be quicker. How prophetic that turned out to be.
Chilton was the third to last driver to take to the Iowa Speedway and his two laps clocked in at an extremely consistent 19.8309 seconds and 19.8307 seconds.
Milwaukee winner Felix Serralles was not able to back up the speed that he and the team had at “The Mile” and will start the race on the outside of the fifth row.
Juncos Racing rookie Kyle Kaiser was the final car on track and his two lap average of 160.506 was no threat to Chilton and will slot him into the seventh starting position.
RANK — DRIVER — SPEED (mph)
1 — Max Chilton — 162.293
2 — Ed Jones — 162.047
3 — Jack Harvey — 161.892
4 — Ethan Ringel — 161.881
5 — Scott Anderson — 161.212
6 — RC Enerson — 160.996
7 — Kyle Kaiser — 160.506
8 — Juan Piedrahita — 158.685
9 — Spencer Pigot — 158.468
10 — Felix Serralles — 156.407
11 — Shelby Blackstock — 155.633
Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire qualifying
Canadian driver Garett Grist won the pole for the Pro Mazda Iowa 100 and continues to build on the momentum that began with a podium at Barber Motorsports Park and continued through a win the last time the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series took to the track.
Qualifying for the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire Iowa rolled off at 1pm under blue skies, with the temperatures approaching a very wet and humid 90F.
Oval qualifying for Pro Mazda consists of the cumulative time/speed of two consecutive laps.
World Speed Motorsports Alessandro Latif was the first driver out and set the early pace at 139.374mph and will start his second-ever oval race in the twelfth spot.
Current championship leader Santiago Urrutia took to the track third and turned an impressive two-lap speed of 142.522mph to move to the provisional pole position. The 18 year-old was very happy with the qualifying effort that will see him start from inside the second row and also said that he is starting to get more comfortable on ovals.
Urrutia’s provisional pole only held up for two drivers as Weiron Tan and his No. 22 Andretti Autosport machine turned the quickest lap of qualifying at 142.906mph on his second lap. Unfortunately for the Malaysian born driver, his first lap was significantly slower and this two-lap average was 142.584mph.
Championship contender Neil Alberico, who had a new Mazda engine installed in his No. 3 Cape Motorsports with /WTR car, was the next driver to take to the 0.894 Iowa Speedway oval. These were the first laps that Alberico had turned with the new engine and he will start on the outside of the fifth row.
The No. 5 Juncos Racing of Grist was eighth in line for qualifying and he turned two very consistent laps (142.648 & 142.534) to record a two-lap average of 142.591mph. The 20 year-old Canadian was able to dodge five more attempts to knock him off his fourth career Pro Mazda (and MRTI) pole.
RANK — DRIVER — SPEED (mph)
1– Garett Grist — 142.591
2 — Weiron Tan — 142.584
3 — Santiago Urrutia — 142.522
4 — Jose Gutierrez — 142.313
5 — Will Owen — 142.155
6 — Timothe Buret — 142.016
7 — Dalton Kellett — 141.657
8 — Florian Latorre — 141.083
9 — Pato O’Ward — 140.923
10 — Neil Alberico — 140.139
11 — Daniel Burkett — 140.139
12 — Alessandro Latif — 139.274
13 — Raoul Owens — 138.440