Veach scores his initial Sunoco Pole Award
 October 18, 2013| 
  • Series News

By Dave Lewandowski –

FONTANA, Calif. — Zach Veach was all smiles following his initial Firestone Indy Lights Sunoco Pole Award, while championship contenders Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves will have some cars to get around in the Lefty’s Kids Club 100 at Auto Club Speedway.

Karam, who enters the season finale with a 16-point advantage over his Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian teammate, qualified seventh with a two-lap average speed of 187.372 mph (total time of 1 minute, 16.8525 seconds) in the No. 8 entry. It was a season low on an oval for the Pennsylvania resident.

Chaves, the first out in qualifications in the No. 7 car, qualified fourth at 189.043 mph (1:16.1733) for the 50-lap race (7 p.m. ET Oct. 19 on NBC Sports Network).

Still, it is a long race. Karam, who is represented by the same agency as Dario Franchitti, received details from the four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion about racing on the 2-mile oval.

“After Practice 1, I knew we had an issue,” said Karam, who has three victories this season. “We have an engine issue right now. But the big thing is that Gabby isn’t P1. It’s a pretty good place to pass so I’m not too worried.”

Veach, 18, driving the No. 12 Replay XD/Andretti Autosport car, had recorded a best start of second at Milwaukee in mid-June through 11 races. He went on to finish a season-high third.

“This year has had a lot of learning experiences for us,” said Veach, who competed in the other rounds of the Mazda Road to Indy the previous two seasons. “To find us getting the pole for the last race of the season says that we’ve learned a lot. Hopefully we can do even better tomorrow in the race and carry that momentum into the offseason.”

Teammate Carlos Munoz posted his 10th front-row start in the No. 26 Dialy-Ser entry. He’ll also compete in the MAVTV 500 IZOD IndyCar Series race, filling in for the ill E.J. Viso in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport car. Juan Pablo Garcia tied his season high of qualifying fourth (188.177) in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing car.

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