Qualifying: Sharp sweats to pole

Now that Scott Sharp has found a way to beat the Indy Racing League competition for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 pole at Kansas Speedway, his next quest is to find a way to beat the heat.

Qualifying: Sharp sweats to pole

Sharp won the pole on Saturday with a lap at 216.175mph in a Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora for Sunday's race, despite temperatures that soared past 100 degrees fahrenheit.

With temperatures expected to climb over 100 for Sunday's race, perhaps the 22 drivers in the field should prepare for the race by heading to the nearest launderette and jumping in the big dryer for a few hours.

"I notice the heat more than anything when you are under caution," Sharp said. "I don't expect this to be too much of a problem in the race."

It was Sharp's fourth career IRL pole and his second this season. He also won the pole for this year's Indianapolis 500.

"There was a lot of guessing that had to go on with a 40-degree track temperature change," he said. "We weren't sure where the balance would be, where to set our pressures and our gear ratios. It seems like we guessed it right."

Eddie Cheever, who was the fastest in practice on Friday, qualified second at 216.085mph in a Dallara-Infiniti.

Said Cheever, "The track is new, the asphalt is impeccable and although we do have temperatures in excess of 140 degrees on the track, the tires are doing very well. I do believe the race will be a strategy race because we have no data to go on.

"I think we have proven time and time again, there is no proven racing line in the IRL, so we should still be able to run multiple grooves in the race. I think there's maybe a line and a half now, maybe two. I think tomorrow, we will have an outside line. I like the fact this track is so smooth."

Cheever's Infiniti engine has shown dramatic improvement this season and is now a major threat in practically ever race.

"We know how strong he is and at Texas, he had the fastest car there," Sharp said. "I think this is great, but if you have a good car in the race, you can start anywhere in the field and have a good chance to win on Sunday. A long green flag stint will show who has a good car and who doesn't."

Cheever has a unique and somewhat unorthodox way of preparing for the high heat...

"I'm going to order a Scotch, a big steak and party until 6am," Cheever quipped. "My helmet after Richmond, which was the hottest race we had raced in this season, was completely white underneath from salt from all the sweating. We've had incredibly hot races the past few races. Sunday will be no different.

"It's hard on the engines, hard on the drivers and hard on the tyres. It's easier to make a mistake when it is this hot.

"There are 10 cars that can win," he added. "There are very few Boy Scouts in those first 10 cars. I guarantee you there will be an argument after the race as we have had the last two races and it will be very entertaining - very competitive. Things change very quickly in the IRL."

Eliseo Salazar of Chile was third at 215.197mph in a Dallara-Aurora, followed by Robbie Buhl's 214.951mph in a G Force-Infiniti and Sam Hornish Jr's 213.225mph in a Dallara-Aurora.

The 22-car field will take the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (18:00 BST).

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