Greg Ray made a point Saturday when he grabbed the pole position for Sunday's Indy Racing League 200
Ray wins pole and smashes track record

FOUNTAIN, Colorado, June 17 (AFP) - Greg Ray made a point Saturday when he grabbed the pole position for Sunday's Indy Racing League 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Not only did Ray, who won the event last year, get the prime position he smashed the track record with a lap of 179.874 mph (287.798km/h) that beat the old time of 178.571 mph (285.713 km/h) set by Billy Boat last year.

Boat took the pole with a 4.0-liter engine, Ray grabbed it in 3.5 liter Oldsmobile Aurora in a Dallara chassis.

Ray easily won in qualifying at the one-mile oval as the second-fastest driver, Robbie Buhl, was clocked at 175.362 mph (280.579 km/h), making Ray more than four mph faster than his nearest competitor.

IRL points leader Buddy Lazier (164 points) was awarded No. 13 position while Scott Goodyear, second in points on 142, has No. 11. It was Ray's third pole of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series season.

As Ray approached the media center after winning the pole, he was jokingly asked if he had the 4.0-liter engine in his car rather than the smaller, less powerful 3.5-liter.

He did not see the funny side of the question and said, "If you guys think what we have done is illegal, then go tear down the engine and tell me what it measures.

"I really don't want you guys to go that way. That's pretty offensive to my team. The motor we qualified in is the motor we are going to race. Regardless of where we finish in the race, you can be the first ones to come over and do a displacement test on it.

"The guys have worked very, very hard. Last year at Phoenix, we had the field covered by three miles an hour (4.8 km/h). We try to focus on two programs -- the race program and one on the qualifying program. I'll be the first one to tell you today blew us all away. It was pretty spectacular."

Ray's dominant speed was met with skepticism by other drivers, mainly because he was not among the fastest in practice.

"We could have a 100-million-dollar budget and test here for two full weeks and not come close to that lap," said Mark Dismore, who will start third with a lap at 175.055 mph (280.088 km/h).

"It kind of makes you wonder where they found all of that speed all of a sudden."

Ray, the defending IRL champion is only 18th in the IRL standings, 94 points behind Lazier.

Scott Sharp, who won the closest race in IRL history last week at Texas Motor Speedway, will start third at 174.953 mph (279.925 km/h) followed by Jeret Schroeder at 174.216 mph (278.7456 km/h).