CICERO, Ill. (July 28, 2001) -- After being edged out four times this season, relegated to starting second, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) got the monkey off of his back winning his first career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship...
CICERO, Ill. (July 28, 2001) -- After being edged out four times this season, relegated to starting second, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) got the monkey off of his back winning his first career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship pole. Orsi posted a lap of 138.229 mph (26.799 seconds) around the 1.029-mile Chicago Motor Speedway, under overcast conditions.
"We've been trying since the beginning of the year and have come very close, so it's good to finally get a pole, plus getting the championship point is good too," said Brazil's Orsi. "I would like to thank the team and my engineer, Kyle Brannon. They worked so hard to give me a good car and the results today are proof of their effort. I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Heading into Saturday's qualifying, it looked like Andrew Bordin's 1999 track record of 138.380 mph (26.769 seconds) would fall as other qualifying track records had this season, but Orsi's lap was 3/100ths of a second shy of the mark. This marked the first time this season that a track record had not been broken when the Atlantic cars have qualified. All sessions before today's qualifying had been run under sunny skies with a strong wind from the east, but the skies were overcast and the wind had died by the time qualifying had started, playing havoc with the team's setups. Only T.J. Bell (Cobb Racing Swift) was able to run a faster time than what he had posted in practice with a speed of 134.539 mph (27.534 seconds).
With the pole, Orsi earned the Championship bonus point, cutting the points lead held by David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) to three points. The handling on the Chicago Motor Speedway continued to be a mystery for the Lynx team as Rutledge was only able to get up to 131.432 mph (28.185 seconds), placing him 12th on the grid for tomorrow's race.
Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift), who held the fastest practice speed of the weekend, was narrowly edged out for the pole by Orsi. "The track had more understeer and I couldn't get it out with the sway bars," said Ave. "Otherwise the track was good and we got everything out of the car we could. The team is looking for good day tomorrow with three cars starting up front." P-1 Racing drivers Jonathan Macri (P-1 Racing/NTN Bearings Swift), and Stephan C. Roy (P-1 Racing/Playstation 2 Momo Swift) placed fourth and fifth respectively with speeds of 135.044 mph (27.431 seconds) and 134.833 mph (27.474 seconds). P-1 Racing placed all three drivers in top-5 in the race on the oval in Nazareth.
Rocky Moran Jr. (Cobb Racing Swift) turned in his best career Atlantic qualifying effort with a speed of 135.281 mph (27.383 seconds), good for third in tomorrow's race. Moran is only driving in his second race for Cobb Racing after being voted on the inaugural CART Toyota Atlantic All-Start team after last year's effort driving for P-1 Racing.
"I'm happy to be third," said California's Moran. "I'd like to thank Price Cobb for putting me in this car. My engineer, Tim Lewis, came up with a decent set-up, but we're going to fine tune it for the race tomorrow. It's going to be a good one. We've been fast all weekend and it feels good to finally put it all together and have a good weekend starting up front."
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 7 race from Chicago on Saturday, August 4, at 5:30 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Tuesday, August 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the EAST, ONTARIO and WEST time zones, and Monday, August 6, at 8:00 p.m. in the PACIFIC zone. CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Wednesday, August 8, 2:30 p.m., ONTARIO, Tuesday, August 14, 2:30 p.m., PACIFIC, Monday, August 13, 4:00 p.m., and WEST, no repeat date. ESPN2 will replay the race on Monday, August 13, at 5:00 a.m. ET.