Graham Rahal frustrated after poor qualifying time
LOUDON, N.H. (AP)
Bobby Rahal won the first IndyCar race ever held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway back in 1992.
His son had a much rougher day on the mile oval Saturday.
Graham Rahal had the 23rd best time among the 26 qualifiers for Sunday's 225-mile race, the first IndyCar competition at the track since 1998.
''I'm disappointed and really frustrated,'' he said after averaging 163.816 mph, more than 7 mph slower than pole-sitter Dario Franchitti. ''We never expected our car to snap like that in qualifying. I never imagined that would happen. It tried to bite me, but we're just lucky we brought it back in one piece.''
Rahal has just one victory in four years in the IndyCar Series, winning at St. Petersburg in his first year. But this year he has two second-place finishes and a third at the Indianapolis 500 and is eighth in the point standings, 199 behind leader Franchitti.
SPEEDY BUT DISSATISFIED: Tony Kanaan tied his best qualifying position of the year on Saturday when he posted the third best average time for Sunday's race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kanaan also started third at the 250-mile race at the Iowa Speedway on June 25. His time on Saturday was 169.698 mph.
''It was a solid run, a little bit slower than I expected,'' he said. ''When you're one of the first guys to go out and qualify it kind of hurts your time because the track keeps getting faster and faster.''
The one-mile oval is relatively flat, an adjustment for drivers accustomed to a more banked track.
''We have a pretty good race car,'' Kanaan said, ''but this is a tough track to pass so we'll see how it goes during the race.''
TOP TEAM: It was a good day for Newman-Haas Racing at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Team drivers had two of the four best qualifying times. Oriol Servia was second and will start outside on the front row. Rookie James Hinchcliffe was fourth and will line up just behind Servia.
''This shows very well for the team,'' said Servia, who is fifth in the point standings. ''It is a lot of fun to drive here, but (this) is one of the most challenging (tracks). It is wide enough to drive three wide here, but we have only been going in the second lane because wen we get our tires high or low, it gets very slippery.''
Servia has three top-five finishes this year and Hinchcliffe has one going into Sunday's race, the 13th of the year.
''It's definitely going to be a track position race so it's good to start up front,'' Hinchcliffe said. ''To have rolled in here on Thursday not having seen the place and had this result is great.''
SHIFTING AROUND: Tomas Scheckter wasn't planning to drive Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But when Justin Wilson sustained a burst fracture of his fifth vertebrae at practice during last weekend's race in Ohio, Scheckter took his place for the Dreyer and Reinbold team.
He drove for KV Racing Technology when he finished eighth at the Indianapolis 500 in May and plans to team up with SH Racing for the street course race in Baltimore on Sept. 4.
But on Saturday he was busy practicing and then qualifying for Sunday's 225-mile race on the mile oval. He had the 18th best time among the 26 qualifiers.
''We got pretty lost after that second practice session today, but we found our way again,'' Scheckter said. ''We made a lot of changes to the car and I'm happy with what we ended up with. Also, we went out in the beginning when the track was not as good.''