Wade Cunningham won the pole for Friday’s Firestone Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, marking the second time the 2005 series champion will start the race from the inside of Row 1.
Cunningham also started from the pole in 2006 when he led every lap.
Cunningham recorded a two-lap qualifying time of 1 minute, 34.6485 seconds, an average of 190.177 mph in the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, setting an event qualifying record. He bettered Jaime Camara's 2005 qualifying effort of 189.870 mph.
“It’s great. We were sitting here in line, 19th to go out, and Sebastian (Saavedra) pops that 47.25 up on the board, 190.4, I think,” Cunningham related. “That’s a good time running by yourself. We were only running marginally quicker than that this morning at 9 with the cool ambient temperatures and a cold track. We didn’t do the quickest lap time, but we were more consistent on the second lap.
“It’s a long race. Forty laps, and anything can happen. In 2006, it went green for 40 laps, and that is a completely different race than what is was last year where we had the 10-lap shootout at the end. You just have to work hard and have the best car you can and take the conditions as they come.”
Sebastian Saavedra qualified second at 190.023 mph, recording his third front-row start of the season.
J.R. Hildebrand and Ana Beatriz will start in Row 2, and Martin Plowman and 2006 series champion Jay Howard will start in Row 3.
The 40-lap, 100-mile race is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (ET) Friday. The 33 drivers in the Indianapolis 500 also will have their final practice before Sunday's race, while Friday will also the 32nd Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Challenge. Ten of the top pit crews in the Indianapolis 500 will participate in the pit stop contest, with $40,000 of the $90,000 overall purse awarded to the winner. The competition will get underway at 1:30 p.m. on with four rounds of action.