Saturday's MBNA Pole Qualifying session at the Chicagoland Speedway was the fastest ever for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series outside of Indianapolis with Jaques Lazier scoring a significant debut pole for Team Menard ahead of Sunday's potentially Championship deciding event.

JAQUES LAZIER (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "This is a great run for the team. We are in the front row, but there are two more bullets we need to dodge. The track is incredibly smooth and incredibly fast. We felt we had too much grip on the car. We made a few adjustments and it turned out pretty good."

BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's a little disappointing, because we slowed down a bit from where we ran in practice. It's not going to be an easy race from where we're going to have to start. But the key is to have a good race car and try to work our way to the front. This isn't the speed we were looking for. At this stage we can't identify exactly what it was that slowed us. We may have been a little tall on the gear, but that shouldn't have affected it that much."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's a great facility. You can hardly feel any bumps. It's going to be a lot like Kansas City. There is only one groove in practice but then a second groove shows up in the race. The temperature is a little bit higher than this morning, but the speed is pretty much what we though it would be."

CHRIS MENNINGA (#92 Hemelgarn/Metro Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're slow. We were faster this morning. We're struggling to get speed. I was flat out. We're just not fast."

ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "I was hoping for an all Infiniti front row with Eddie (Cheever Jr.) and myself, but obviously Menard's guys had something up their sleeves. That's not unusual. It's the race that matters, and I am not worried about them (Menard's team) in the race. The Purex car is an excellent race car, and the Infiniti power has shown great reliability. We just need to win one."

LAURENT REDON (#34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The limiter switch was on. I thought I had an engine problem, and I flipped the switch. In our car it is a switch not a button, but it was too late. I pulled in early. I thought I was done. I think I could have done a 217 (mph)."

ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It was OK. We didn't hit the rev limiter. I think the gear was a bit too tall. The car's good. That's all we had."

DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm very disappointed. I must not be running the right line, to slow it down so much. It's not the car because my teammate's running 218. I'll work it for tomorrow."

SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's extremely disappointing. We've been trying and trying. It seemed like everything we did to the car wasn't getting anything any faster than 25.2 (seconds). They expected to pull a higher gear. They worked it out on all the numbers, and we couldn't pull it. That puts us way in the back, and I'll just have to fight my way through traffic tomorrow."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "Never underestimate Team Menard when it comes to qualifying, especially on mile-and-a-half ovals and Indy. What we had to show, what we had to qualify is what we have for the race. We don't have any more or any less. We don't have a special qualifying anything. That's what we got. I'm very happy, very, very, very happy. I'm proud with what Infiniti has done. To be that close to Menard is very good. Absolutely, very good. It's a lovely facility. It's very similar to Kansas, and we're looking forward to tomorrow."

AIRTON DARE (#88 1-800-BAR-NONE/TeamXtreme G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I don't know what happened out there. The car just didn't feel right. I think it was a combination of a few different things. The balance was off and the car just wasn't pulling as strong as it did this morning. We have a lot of work to do tonight, but we will be fine for tomorrow. I put my faith in the 1-800 BAR NONE crew to give me a strong car for the race."

BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "One race can't lose the championship unless it's the last race. We are still in this. One race isn't going to kill the championship for you either way."

(About qualifying effort): "It's going to be a good place to start from, but it's not really what we wanted."

RICK TREADWAY (#5 Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We were really pleased with the effort in Kentucky. We're just going to get a little racier tomorrow. I'm really excited for the Treadway-Hubbard Team. The crew's done a great job coaching me along, and I'm real fortunate to be driving the Coca Cola/Meijer/Firestone car. We did real well, just what we expected. It's a little different when you're out there by yourself without getting any tow or draft. I think we'll be fast just about everywhere, the front straightaway and the back straightaway. The fans are going to have a heck of a race. They're going to really enjoy it tomorrow."

AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We have been playing the drafting game most of the weekend, so we were pretty much expecting to be where we are on the grid. We are just working hard on our race set-up so we can try to run with the lead pack tomorrow."

BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We are struggling a little with straight-line speed right now. We have removed some wing from the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara to make it quicker down the straights, and that is slowing us up in the corners. We are going to keep working on it and get it right for the race."

DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I do like this track. It feels very smooth. It is very similar to Atlanta, Texas and Kansas, and we have had good cars during those races. So we worked on race set-up this morning and will see what happens tomorrow."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car felt the same as this morning. The chassis had good stability and balance. My first lap was good, but then on my second lap, the car got on the rev limiter. So, obviously that slowed me down. We'll go back and make the changes necessary so that won't happen to us tomorrow in the Delphi Indy 300."

ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Well, I've been better. We haven't been as fast as we wanted to be all weekend. We're a little confused as to what's wrong, but we're missing something big time. It's something with our motor-chassis package. We just can't go fast. Even when we make the car uncomfortable to drive we can't go fast. Our race set-up won't be that much different than our qualifying set-up, but the race is always a whole different story. We'll try to stay out of trouble and try to come up with some sort of race strategy to try to make the difference. Maybe we'll go out of sequence with the pit stops and try to do something with our fuel strategy. But at this point, we just don't have the speed. I don't know what else to say than that. The Cahill Racing team is working hard. Hopefully we'll find out what the problem is and solve it before tomorrow."

RICHIE HEARN (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I went flat out all the way around. There is not much else I can do. I ran quite a bit faster in practice, so I don't know why I was that slow. This track is easy. It's pretty much flat out. It all comes down to horsepower. There is only so much you can do to a car. I probably need a little more power, but we will take what we have. We will just try to be there at the end and see what we get."

SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's not quite where we wanted to be. We struggle a little bit on the high banks. They are not our specialty. We missed the gearing by a little bit. We've done the same thing all year long, and it has worked for us. The track is smooth. You could have 12 cars going for the lead."

BILLY ROE (#81 Juno Online Services/Blair.com Zali Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "That is good for us. I was flat out from the start. We don't have all of the trick stuff. We come to race not to qualify. The tow will help us a lot. We're going to put in a special top gear, because in the tow we'll pick up about 5 mph."

JON HERB (#18 Star Registry G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's not bad considering where we started a week ago, looking for a car and trying to get something going. We got the car on Tuesday and got it going. The guys did a great job. Obviously, we are hunting around for speed. Obviously, we're not shooting for the pole, but at least we are moving in the right direction. We are getting a little more speed. We got a lot more work to do, obviously, but we've got a real good car. It's been real comfortable for me. We need to get a little more speed out of it. We've worked real hard to get us where we've gotten today. Last night we changed the motor, all night long. This is a great facility. This is where I want to race. I'm a Midwestern boy. This is where I'd like to be racing."

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm really pleased. The Delphi guys just did a great job. We put a new engine in last night, but it didn't seem like it had the kick that the one we practiced with yesterday. So we put that one back in the car and went right back up to where we thought we could run and really put a blister lap together for qualifying. It's as good as we have. I love this track. I think it's going to prove for a great race tomorrow. We worked on our race car pretty hard yesterday afternoon and were able to utilize the high groove, which is important for traffic. I think we're in good shape. There will be side-by-side racing around here with no problem. You will probably even see some three abreast on the straightaway."

MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to this race. We made a couple of changes after this morning's practice, and we were able to get a time to start us in the top five. I think we've got a good race car for tomorrow, and I think we can keep the Delphi/Bryant car up front all day long. We freed the car up a little bit and put a little bit more downforce in the nose of the car, and it was just a good car. It's the quickest speed I've run all week, so you've got to be happy about that. We didn't really expect to get the pole today, but we're in the top five, and that's a good starting position. I think we've got a shot at winning this race. It's going to be a long race. It's a 300-mile race and will probably require four pit stops, and anything can happen. I've got a fast race car, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Unlike the stock cars that ran here, we'll be able to go two or three abreast tomorrow. It'll be some exciting stuff."

 

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