DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We were struggling a little bit this morning with the Target car in race trim but we made it much better in the second session of practice. But the heat (race) the car stuck and we were able to put the Target car around the outside of Marco, kind of liked I watched T.K. (Tony Kanaan) do in the heat race before me. I got out in front and the car felt good - no troubles for the rest of the run with no real fall off till the end of the race. Physically it is a tough track so it will be an interesting race for us tomorrow night. But overall a very good day for the Target boys. Good to be starting up front here for sure."MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): ""We really wanted to get the pole, but we were a little off on our gearing for the car. We can work on that for tomorrow - that's really the race that counts. We were pretty good, but we need to give ourselves a little more grip and we can be right there. The RC Cola car was fast all day, so we just need to tune on it a little bit to get back out front when it really means something. We can win it from there."HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "Honestly, the practice, it was a little bit more risky than actually the race because in the heat race, you really are taking chances and not knowing what other guys are doing, but you know I think if we had to do that again, we should go qualifying one lap or two laps, whatever, to determine where you're going to go for the heats, instead of just going 30 or 45 minutes with everybody out there. So I would have probably suggested, but other than that it was okay. Certainly, 30 laps I believe was enough, but it was getting tough out there. I was able to make a pass on Marco, but then there wasn't enough time to catch Dario, there was not that many cars out there so it was difficult to catch traffic and things like that. For the first time, it was positive in terms of a big lead. Certainly these are the things that we've got to do for the future. In the end of the day I'm happy that we tried (heats) and we will keep discussing and brainstorming all the possibilities so in the future, maybe we'll try different ovals, but for sure here it seemed different. I'm starting on the front row, and that's what I care about right now."JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): ""I think we learned a little bit tonight. I'm actually glad, almost, that we had heat races this weekend because, with so little practice we had so little time to work on our race cars and (the heat races) gave us a good taste of what we are going to see tomorrow night. Obviously, the track conditions will be a bit different, but we learned a bit. It was nice to move the Go Daddy car up a couple of spots because it was tough to pass out there. Ryan (Briscoe) got a bunch of different runs on me, but it's so tough to hold the bottom of the racetrack and our car was working pretty decent up high. We were struggling off of Turn 2 and he was getting some good runs on us. That last lap I started really pushing up the track and my spotter told me Ryan was going high - I had to really try and get out of it; I feel bit bad there so, sorry to him for that. But overall, not a bad night and I'm happy to be starting on the outside of Row Two."SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "It was kind of a mixed day. We struggled a little bit, we had some traffic in practice two which set the grid for the heat. We still made it to the top-eight which is what we needed to do. We still weren't real happy with the car so we kind of threw the kitchen sink at it for the heat race and we started on scuffs, six-lap tires, so it was kind of just feeling it out. It was okay, after 20 laps I felt pretty loose so we started to back up towards the end. The No. 10 car seemed to have a good handle on it so we'll look at their stuff tonight but all and all a pretty up-and-down day."SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): ""It was evil. We took it as a practice run because we're starting last anyway because of the engine change. Obviously, we're not where we want to be yet. We're going to think about it over night and come back stronger tomorrow."TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO /Mouser Electronics- KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "Great job by the GEICO | Mouser guys. It's doesn't help getting a 10 grid (spot) penalty, but we will just have to battle from the back. We have a good car. It was nice having the 30-lap race so I can see how my car will react in the race tomorrow and I'm pleased with how it felt."SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "Today was a big learning curve. We've never been here with this car; we didn't test here, so we just threw some things at it this morning and it was alright; we worked through it. We learned a lot in the first session, improved it in the second session and I think even in the third session we went a bit quicker, so those are really good things. If we keep progressing like this it really shows that we're a pretty strong team and can improve every session out there. I think we have a good car. We're hoping that tomorrow some people will fall off a little bit like in Milwaukee and that's going to play in our favor. You know if we have a solid car for a full stint, so we'll see. We're just working at it, progressing. I don't think we'll be able to make real passes at real speed, but if people are going to struggle that's where our chance is going to come. We're really going to be ready when that chance comes."RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): " "For a rookie it was a great day because I could do a 30 lap mini race. I wasn't sure whether I had a car to win, but it was good to race Tagliani and Kanaan and learn the high and low lines. My car was a little loose in places, but I feel more confident now for the race tomorrow."E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "Iowa is a place that has provided me with a lot of satisfaction by giving me my first podium finish back in 2010. This race is going to be very challenging. I am starting from the back of the field as a result of a penalty given to us by INDYCAR because we changed the engine under the minimum mileage. This will also be a difficult race because of the change in the downforce rules. We are running a lot less downforce than in the past. Looking ahead, I have a lot of faith in the car that my crew is going to give me. So far I have had strong cars that have allowed me to fight hard in the races. That is what I am looking forward to doing tomorrow.TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): ""It wasn't an easy day for us; quite difficult actually through the sessions and practice. We made good progress internally but we need a lot more speed. It won't be easy to make progress but surely we will move forward. We will gather all of the data tonight and be prepared for tomorrow. It was good to have a sprint race like this to get a better understanding of the car."ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "That race is pretty much what I expected. Single file. Unless someone's car goes off in a stint, it will be very difficult to pass people. I thought the aero package we tested here was pretty good. But they (INDYCAR officials) changed the package last week for this weekend. I tried to make a move on (Mike) Conway in the low line early, and the car just got too loose. Later in the race we were as fast as the leaders but there was no way to close the gap. I hope it is more exciting on Saturday night than that heat race. We used to put on some good racing at Iowa before and I hope this new package doesn't hurt the racing here. We'll wait and see what happens in the 250-lap race." GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "Certainly, the car felt really strong. Now, we go into tomorrow night and let's hope we keep that momentum. We know we have a good race car. We'll start 20th so we know we have a lot of work ahead of us but we feel pretty good."MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "We treated that as a test session and we did get the ABC Supply car more comfortable. We still need to work on some bits and get it more dialed in. It was not an easy day, but it sounds like others had similar things."JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I was a little surprised by Graham to be honest. I'm just glad we didn't have an incident. He clearly had more speed though. He wanted to go low on the back straight. I had a slow start. It was a lot slower than we predicted when we took off. We just didn't get out of the hole very well. Luckily we were able to hold Viso on the outside. I got a good run on Graham early on. He wanted to go low when he saw I had a run on him. That was fine, so I chose the outside. The next thing I knew, when we got in the corner he was going straight up the race track in front of me. I thought we were going to hit the wall, and I don't know how we didn't. Luckily we didn't tear up any race cars. It's just one of those things. You're always learning new things about your competitors and how you can race people. That will be valuable information for tomorrow. (About his car for tomorrow): "We're going to have to work on our car quite a bit for tomorrow. We need to get a bit more speed. This heat race was only half distance compared to a race stint for us on a set of tires. We need to figure out how the car and tires will handle on the next half of the stint. If we can optimize the car and get a little more out of it we'll be fine for tomorrow. If we can hold the tire degradation tomorrow we'll be competitive."KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "The car was much better in the heat race than it was in practice today," continued Legge. "We had a really good test here recently, so we thought we would come back with a really good car for this weekend's race. Seemingly, it wasn't like that, but my crew are some of the best and worked really hard to correct that. We have a little bit of work left to do, but we made some progress and we look forward to tomorrow night. I am really just happy to have the opportunity that TrueCar and my other sponsors have provided. We hope to give them a great show."WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "These heat races were a good chance for the Verizon Team Penske crew to get some racing under our belts and have a better understanding of what to expect during the race. I like the way the car feels and we are ready for a good performance in the race tomorrow."RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet): ""The heat race was definitely a sprint race and I think we were able to learn some things about how the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish will perform in tomorrow's race. I felt like I had a good car, we were a little off on the gear ratio which was making the good runs a little difficult to complete. I think it will be a good race tomorrow, it felt like a couple of lanes opened up for good some racing. We are starting fifth and hopefully will have a good race."JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Honda): "It was a reasonable day. Lots of learning, you know, everyone oval we've been on is quite different, so it's been interesting to see how it plays out each week. I liked the concept of the heat races. We were hoping to move forward a bit, but the car was loose during the heat race, so unfortunately we couldn't do all we wanted to do. But it was a good opportunity to see what the cars are like, and I think with a little fine tuning it could be a really exciting thing."RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, qualified third): "I think we had a pretty good day. We checked our first box off the list, which was making the fast-eight heat race. We treated the heat as a test session instead of an actual race. We found some things that might work for tomorrow night and we definitely found some things that didn't. We didn't race very impressive, but we kept our starting position of seventh. The Andretti Autosport crew was able to learn some things, which is good. We could have been more aggressive, but we felt like the big picture was to learn more for tomorrow night and that's what we did. Thanks to all of my guys for their hard work and also to DHL and Sun Drop."JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "I think we've got a good race car. I made a mistake on the start which cost us a few positions, but I know the Dale Coyne Racing guys have worked so hard, especially after the contact we had last week. The car has been good in practice, so hopefully we can move forward and make up for it tomorrow."SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING REPORTSunoco Pole Qualifying consists of two warm-up laps followed by a two-lap qualifying attempt. Cars are ranked in order based on the quickest cumulative time. Only one attempt is allowed per car. One-lap qualifying record: Wade Cunningham, 24.5189, 149.028 mph (June 2011); Fastest Firestone Indy Lights lap today: #27 Sebastian Saavedra, 20.0615 seconds, 143.984 mph (Practice 1).At 5:15 p.m., the ambient temperature was 83 degrees with a relative humidity of 35 percent. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 114 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:· This is Tristan Vautier's third pole of 2012 and the third pole in Firestone Indy Lights. He was previously on pole at St. Petersburg and last week at Milwaukee. He won both of those races.· This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' fourth pole of 2012 and the team's 52nd pole in Firestone Indy Lights. Vautier (St. Petersburg, Milwaukee) and Oliver Webb (Belle Isle) won poles for the team this season.· Esteban Guerrieri qualified second and on the front row for the third time in 2012. He also started second at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.· This is the sixth time that teammates have started 1-2-3 in a Firestone Indy Lights race - all by Sam Schmidt Motorsports. The last time it occurred was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2011 with Josef Newgarden, Bryan Clauson and Esteban Guerrieri.SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "Yes it was really good, the car was just stuck on the track, it was a bullet. Just had to keep it flat and be careful with my ends, do a good job with the lines I was taking, and I'm really happy. We were good in practice again and good run, another good position with the draw so that was nice even if it doesn't count as much here in Iowa. Very happy and big thanks to the guys, obviously the car matters a lot on this track so my team gave me a great car and so really a big thanks to SSM, very good to have our third pole of the season. But as they say, qualifying is only two laps, tomorrow there is 115 to complete so going to be very tough, going to be a long race, tough race, so we have to stay focused and make the most of the practice we have tomorrow to prepare for the race as best we can. I think the race is going to be very tight. This track, usually you stay flat all lap long, so it's going to very tight. We're 1-2-3 for the team which is very good, and we're all going to be very close, obviously we all have similar cars, so it's going to be very competitive. Going to be very important to be consistent and have a good start, good restart, be good with lap traffic. We're in a good position so I'm looking forward to it.ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "It was a good lap and these cars are all very closely matched. It is a good place to start - last year I started first and crashed - so second will hopefully be better for me and the team. I am very proud of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports - qualifying 1-2-3 is very nice. I expect it to be a very good race and there will passing on the high side if people are going to be passing tomorrow. I hope we all have a good race tomorrow and the whole team does well, but I want to be the one to win this week. It will be a long race and we just need to be running at the end - not like last year."VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "The car was pretty good. Nothing to complain about at all. It's really important to start up front at a track like this. It can be had to pass here. Hopefully, I'll get a good start. That will be crucial tomorrow. I'll have to see how the race plays out to decide when to pass. Traffic will be a factor in determining that as well."OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I like Iowa Speedway. It's challenging. Everyone talks about the bump and getting rid of it. But the bump kind of gives it a little bit of character that people talk about. Without it, people would be comparing the track to Vegas and how easy it would be. The ovals are still my weak thing. We know I can pole and podium on street courses because I've always done them. I just need to work on my oval racing."JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "I feel pretty good. The car feels much better in qualifying than it did during practice, but I think we still need to do a little bit more for the race. I'll keep working with my engineer and mechanics to prepare for tomorrow. Luckily we have a long practice so we can set [the car] up a bit better for the race.ALON DAY (No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing): "To be honest, I'm pretty disappointed in qualifying P9. But practice earlier today was really hard, and we've still got a lot to do, unfortunately. Fortunately we do have another practice tomorrow to test the car, so I hope it gets better and we can find the right setup.MIKE LARRISON (No. 19 Belardi/TruFuel/Royal Oak Charcoal): "We kind of struggled with the car in practice. It was tight. It was a typical qualifying thing. You just put in it on the floor. The car was really good, it just stepped out."SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS): "I think we gave it our best qualifying run today. Unfortunately it was not enough for the pole position. This doesn't mean that we can't go out there tomorrow and fight our way through the three guys in front of us. They have shown all season that they are the ones to beat. In the first practice session, we were able to learn a lot about the car. We just need to keep focused and do a good job tomorrow at the start of the race. Thanks to my AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport team for all of their work today."CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser): "This was my first time on the track at Iowa Speedway. In the practice session, I felt really good about my car and the track. Today's qualifying did not go quite as well as I was hoping. This is my worst attempt this season starting seventh. It will be a long race tomorrow and we will have the opportunity to warm-up beforehand. The Andretti Autosport guys will work hard tonight so we are able to learn more about the car before the race. I hope to move through the field and finish on the podium."
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE:1:55 - 2:40 p.m. - Firestone Indy Lights practice2:55 p.m. - Star Mazda qualifying3:50 - 3:55p.m. - Systems check5:05 p.m. - Star Mazda Iowa Speedway Foundation 1006:40 p.m. - Firestone Indy Lights Sukup 100 (115 laps/100 miles), NBC Sports Network (Taped, 11:59 p.m. Saturday)9 p.m. - Iowa Corn Indy 250 (250 laps/187.5 miles), NBC Sports Network (Live)