Another Indy Lights pole for Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand was a half-second quicker on his best qualifying lap than runner-up Richard Philippe in Friday's qualifying session for the Firestone Indy Lights race at Edmonton.
Hildebrand, the Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader, posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 5.9065 seconds (107.771 mph) with four minutes left in the 45-minute all-car session on the 1.96-mile, 14-turn Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit for his fourth pole start of the season.
"It's an extremely physical track, pretty much non-stop from beginning of the lap to the end," said Hildebrand, who competed in Edmonton in 2007 with Atlantics.
Added Philippe, who recorded a season-high starting spot with a quick lap of 1:06.4609 (106.872 mph) in the No. 37 Team PBIR car: "If you can make a little bit of a gain through Turn 1, it helps you through 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6."
Hildebrand, driving the No. 26 ARPRO car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing, also started from the pole at the St. Petersburg and Long Beach street circuits and at the Iowa Speedway oval, turning the Long Beach start into victory. He's coming off a runner-up finish at Toronto, where he advanced four positions, and a victory at Watkins Glen International on July 5.
"The car was just really good right from the get go," he said. "(At Toronto) we had a little bit of trouble trying to make too many changes for the qualifying session. I think it just kind of got us behind. But today we just kind of stuck with the game plan and went out there and went quick."
Philippe had a previous best was fourth at Long Beach and Toronto two weeks ago.
"It's a nice feeling," he said. "We've come a long way as a team. We struggled a little bit in the second part of the first session this morning but we got it just right for now. We're definitely not matching J.R. (Hildebrand)'s pace but I've got to thank the Palm Beach National Raceway boys and the Palm Beach Driving Club for making this possible for me."
James Davison (1:06.5017) in the No. 21 People's Liberation car for Vision Racing and James Hinchcliffe (1:06.5888) in the No. 7 Hinchtown.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be on Row 2. It's the fourth consecutive top-five start for Hinchcliffe, and the third in a row for Davison.
"I guess I'm disappointed because we didn't go quicker on our second set of tires when we really needed to," said Davison, who was second on the time chart with five minutes left in the session. "On our first set we matched Hildebrand and on our second tire run I didn't have a good enough run and had it interrupted. Somewhat disappointed with a third-place starting position but looking forward to the race because that's what really matters."
Sebastian Saavedra (1:06.9070) of AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing and Charlie Kimball (1:07.0296) of Team PBIR will share Row 3. Mario Romancini in the No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied.Andersen Racing car (1:07.1675) and Andrew Prendeville in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car (1:07.2799) will be on the fourth row.
Daniel Herrington, driving the No. 28 LeBleu/Bryan Herta Autosport car, and Ana Beatriz in the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car will be on Row 5.