Mann earns second pole start of season

By Dave Lewandowski

SPARTA, Ky. — Pippa Mann’s positive run on ovals continued in Sunoco Pole Qualifying for the Drive Smart. Buckle Up Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway as the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver earned her second pole start of the season.

Mann recorded a two-lap average of 190.474 mph (55.9447 seconds) on the 1.5-mile oval to vault Martin Plowman (190.309 mph) and become the third female to start on the pole at Kentucky Speedway (Sarah Fisher in 2002 and Danica Patrick in 2005 in the IZOD IndyCar Series).

Mann finished a career-best second Aug. 28 in the Chicagoland 100 on that 1.5-mile oval. She also started from the pole this season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Firestone Freedom 100.

“Last week was a really good week for us,” she said. “We came here hoping for something similar. I’m really, really pleased to get the pole. We didn’t seem to think that we were that quick, but we’ve been on the front row for three out of the four oval races this year and every time we thought we were a top-five car so maybe there’s something to it.

“Today, I really have to thank my teammates. They let me know what their cars were doing and I was able to use my in-car tools so huge thank you goes out to not only my guys by J.K. Vernay and Philip Major for letting me know what was going on out there.”

Plowman started from the pole at Chicagoland in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing car for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport and led the first 29 laps before contact between his right-rear tire and Mann’s front wing put him out of contention.

“We just missed out on the pole, but it was still a great effort for the No. 27 crew,” Plowman said. “We have been on the front row for three out of the last four races. We have had two poles and a second, so we seem to be hitting our stride. Starting on the pole doesn’t mean a lot for the race because things can happen so quickly. We are starting on the front row here so hopefully we can have a good, clean race tomorrow.”

Teammate Charlie Kimball (190.257), driving the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen entry, will join Vernay (189.914), the Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader, on the second row.

Walker Racing’s Dan Clarke (190.128) and James Hinchcliffe of Team Moore Racing (189.914), the closest pursuer of Vernay for the title, will start on Row 3.


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