Casey Mears ...
#66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard QHonda Indy 300 - Saturday, Oct. 27, 2001
Surfers ParadiseQ\, Queensland, Australia - 2.795-Mile Temporary Street Course
Round 20 of 21 on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series
Casey Mears and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start Sunday's Honda Indy 300 on the outside of the 12th row. Mears lapped the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise temporary street course in 1 minute, 35.401 seconds (an average of 105.471 mph), good for 11th in today's first of two 30-minute group qualifying sessions and 24th overall. Conditions today were clear, sunny and dry - in stark contrast to Friday's wet and rainy conditions that hampered the entire first day of practice. This morning's 75-minute practice was the only dry session teams had to prepare for this afternoon's qualifying rounds. Sunny and dry weather is expected once again for Sunday.
Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start from the inside of the 10th row. Kanaan turned in a fast lap of 1:34.319 (106.681 mph) during today's second group qualifying session, good for 19th overall. Roberto Moreno won the pole today in 1:32.095 (109.257 mph), followed by Gil de Ferran at 1:32.406 (108.889 mph) and Cristiano da Matta at 1:32.552 (108.717 mph).
Race time Sunday is 2 p.m. local time (midnight EDT Saturday night/Sunday morning) with a tape-delayed broadcast set for ESPN at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday.
"I've been behind all weekend because this is my first time racing on this track. It didn't help that we got rained on all day Friday, but I still got a good number of laps in to learn the course. We had a bit of a problem in practice this morning, but we made some improvements and picked up some time. Unfortunately, my hot lap in the qualifying session was the only one I got. I had two others going exactly when the red flag came out (due to on-course incidents involving other cars), so that was disappointing. I feel good that we're progressing quickly. My best lap came on my very last qualifying lap. I feel like we could've run harder, but, first and foremost, I wanted to bring the car back in one piece. If it would've been under different circumstances, like if we had a shot at a top-five starting position or something, I might have taken a few more chances. But I'm happy to be headed in the right direction. We'll get some more laps in during morning warm-up, and hopefully we'll settle into a strategy that'll put us up front by the end of the race. I'm really looking forward to it. I love this place!"