A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver is on pole for the Freedom 100, the marquee race for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but it isn’t necessarily the driver you’d first think of.
Ethan Ringel laid down a two-lap average of 197.684 to secure his first pole position in the No. 71 Dallara IL-15 Mazda.
Ringel was surprised, but thankful, to score the pole position.
“I’m kind of in disbelief that I’m here,” he said post-qualifying. My engineer has told me all year that I have to get comfortable on the oval, that Indy is a place you really have to drive the car. But since I ran that first test at Homestead, I loved it. I think that’s the key with being comfortable – you have to respect it. And especially at Indianapolis, you can’t go past the limits here.
“I’ve had a blast since the first lap. Going into the week, I thought I’d be happy with a mid-pack so this is a bit of a shocker. I knew the car was pretty quick and it felt pretty good, so I thought it could be a good qualifying time. So now, I want to focus on the race, to figure out strategy. I’ll try to relax as much as I can and take things as they come.”
He’ll start ahead of the pair of race winners from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend, SPM teammate Jack Harvey and 8Star Motorsports’ Sean Rayhall.
Scott Anderson and RC Enerson make it all four SPM cars in the top five.
Points leader Ed Jones (Carlin) will start eighth.
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer will give the Command to “start your Mazda engines” on the fourth anniversary of his “Alive Day.” During his second tour of combat duty, he was gravely injured after stepping on an IED on May 22, 2011 in Afghanistan. Despite losing his left leg above the knee, he is now a Mazda-backed race driver and race winner in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series.
Speeds are below.