The rains from the morning finally ceased and the Kansas Speedway crew broke out the parade of trucks and the jet blowers to try and dry out the saturated track. As a result, IZOD IndyCar Series officials decided to push back the start time for qualifications from 4:30pm to 5:15pm. The delay was designed to allow teams and drivers to get at least two hours of practice time earlier in the afternoon, which was very welcome for all the competitors. Well, all perhaps except for Mario Romancini who backed his car into the Turn 4 wall after getting very loose in traffic.
“We were trying to work on our qualifying setup, so we were trimming out the car. I was in traffic and got loose, and it was too late to try and save it. It’s a shame. It’s a shame that I won’t be able to qualify. Hopefully we’ll be able to fix the car for tomorrow.” –Mario Romancini
no images were foundMario was ok, and will be on track for the race, but he was not able to put up a qualifying time. His new teammate, Bertrand Baguette posted a very respectable time given that this is his first oval race of his career. Baguette will start in P19 right behind fellow oval rookie Simona De Silvestro.
The surprising performances of the day had to be from Newman-Haas Racing driver, Hideki Mutoh. Mutoh will start on the 2nd row in P4 after a very strong qualifying performance. It must be said, though, that his starting position was helped by the penalties assessed to Dan Wheldon, who dipped below the white line during his qualification run. As a result, Dan will start from the back of the grid along with Marco Andretti who also went out of bounds during qualification. I suppose that it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see a Newman-Haas car near the front here at Kansas. Last year, Graham Rahal set the pole for the team.
The top drivers and pole winner was really no surprise to anyone. Ryan Briscoe set the pole with a speed of 212.145 mph and will be followed into Turn 1 by Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Briscoe seemed to be the only Team Penske driver to have a handle on the setup for Kansas. His teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves will both start in the top ten, but only just. Andretti Autosport had an even rougher day, though. Danica Patrick qualified the highest of any of her four other teammates and will start in P9. The next fastest AA driver was Tony Kanaan who will start in 15th, just behind Sarah Fisher who qualified in 14th.
The weather looks good for the race, clear and mostly sunny with temperatures in the upper 60s to lower 70s. As rough as Friday started out, Saturday looks like it will be a great day to go racing. You can see the race live on ABC with coverage starting at 1:30pm EDT.
You can download the full starting grid and qualifying speeds here.