CLEVELAND - Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti may have had a challenging two days on the 2.106-mile temporary road course at Burke Lakefront Airport, but when push came to shove the 29-year-old Scot took flight and earned a second row start...
CLEVELAND - Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti may have had a challenging two days on the 2.106-mile temporary road course at Burke Lakefront Airport, but when push came to shove the 29-year-old Scot took flight and earned a second row start for tomorrow's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. Franchitti, the defending race winner in Cleveland, suffered an electrical fire on Friday morning and then slid off the track and into the tire barrier on Saturday morning but despite the difficulties, was able to regroup in time to post the third best time of the day at 57.482 seconds (131.895 mph) during Saturday's final qualifying period. Haunted by his own gremlins, Franchitti's teammate Paul Tracy will start eleventh.
Cristiano da Matta earned his second consecutive pole position and second championship point of the weekend after recording a best lap of 57.170 seconds (132.615 mph). Patrick Carpentier was second quickest with a lap of 57.470 seconds (131.923 mph).
Tomorrow's schedule opens with Champ Car warm-up at 9:30 a.m. EST. The 115-lap Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland will begin at 1:30 p.m. EST. CBS will broadcast the race live starting at 1:30 p.m.
Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"Today has been a nightmare for the TKG mechanics. I damaged the car this morning, I went off and broke the back wing and they had to fix that and then I over revved the engine and they had to change it before qualifying so, from that standpoint, it has really been difficult. The car is better than the time I posted and I'm not happy about it because I should have gotten more out of the car. Allen (McDonald, race engineer) has worked really hard all weekend and he worked with Paul and Michaels' guys to come up with a good car. It's too bad I didn't make the most of the KOOL car. Tomorrow there's 115 laps and it is a long hard race and there is plenty of time to get past the guys in front."
Speed 129.558 mph
Time: 58.519 seconds
Speed: 131.895 mph
Time: 57.482 seconds
Kyle Moyer, Team KOOL Green Team Manager
"It has been the weekend from hell for the #27 team. This morning Dario was trying hard and the car slid off the track and got in the dirt and then into the tire wall, which ripped the rear wing off and damaged the left rear corner. Then we got running again and we had an over rev on a downshift so the team had to run back and change the engine. We really haven't done more than 40 miles in practice but the car is really, really good and Dario proved it. He got us up front."
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"We're having trouble keeping heat in the tires. I wasn't able to get the KOOL car deep in the corners and then it was pushing once I got back on the throttle. I'm not sure what's going on, we are struggling with grip and we'll be taking a good look at things tonight to see how we can fix it for tomorrow. I'm disappointed with the qualifying position but I'm pretty sure that there is much more in this car. I'm confident that we'll be in better shape tomorrow and I'll do everything I can to get the most out of the car."
Speed: 130.758 mph
Time: 57.982 seconds
Speed: 131.108 mph
Time: 57.827 seconds
John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant
"We're lacking grip somewhere. This morning we tried a new set of tires and it took so long for them to heat up. In qualifying, with only fifteen laps, we try to break it down into two segments - the first segment we do seven laps and then on the second segment we do eight. It takes four of those laps to come up to speed, which only leaves us with two timed laps, because on the last one, we have to come into the pits. What we tried this time was going out for ten laps so we'd have eight timed. Paul felt that in the second segment of the three timed laps the tires had gone over the top and the car started sliding around. Consequently he couldn't get the power to the ground and we were slower than those who did improve in the second segment."