GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 113 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 84 degrees F. at the start of the Group One qualifying session. RED...
GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 113 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 84 degrees F. at the start of the Group One qualifying session.
RED FLAG waves at 2:35 p.m. after #19X KUROSAWA spins off course at Turn 8, making light contact against the tire barrier with the left rear corner of the rear wing. KUROSAWA exits the car under his own power and starts walking back to the Pit Area. KUROSAWA will serve the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying session before the Japanese driver can return to the qualifying session.
GREEN FLAG waves at 2:38 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.
At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One qualifying session, the fastest driver is #27 FRACNHITTI with a lap of 112.371 mph (1:15.158), followed by #55X KANAAN (110.026 mph; 1:16.760) and #17 GUGELMIN (109.612 mph; 1:17.050).
RED FLAG waves at 2:42 p.m. after #55X KANAAN spins in Turn 4, making fairly hard contact with both ends of the car against the tire barrier before coming to stop against the barrier exiting the turn. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains too much damage to continue in the Group One session. KANAAN's crew will have a bit of time to prepare the secondary car for use in the remainder of the Group One session due to the fact that the driver will be serving the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying session.
GREEN FLAG waves at 2:49 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.
At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 112.371 mph (1:15.158), followed by #55X KANAAN (110.026 mph; 1:16.760) and #17 GUGELMIN (109.612 mph; 1:17.050).
At 2:53 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI ups his Group Two top speed with a lap of 112.379 mph (1:15.153) on his sixth lap of the session.
At 2:55 p.m., #96 SERVIA logs the 2nd-best lap of Group One with a speed of 111.858 mph (1:15.503) on his sixth lap.
At 2:57 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI again ups his top Group One speed with a lap of 113.548 mph (1:14.379).
At 2:58 p.m., the crew of #16X JOURDAIN JR. says that they will run the #16 car for the rest of the Group One session. JOURDAIN JR. had still not logged one official qualifying lap in the #16X.
BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:59 p.m. to #96 SERVIA for a Pit Road speed violation. SERVIA subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.
At 2:59 p.m., #34 MARQUES spins in Turn 3 and stalls the car. The driver exits the car under his own power and is finished for the remainder of the session.
CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to end the Group One qualifying session with #27 FRANCHITTI the fastest with his earlier lap of 113.548 mph (1:14.379), followed by #96 SERVIA (112.113 mph; 1:15.331) and #32X CARPENTIER (111.386 mph; 1:15.823).
GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.
On their second lap of the Group Two session, #7 PAPIS, #1 MONTOYA, and #1 MONTOYA grab 2nd through 4th in overall speed with clockings of 112.726 mph (1:14.897), 112.518 mph (1:15.060), and 112.516 mph (1:15.061) respectively.
At 3:21 p.m., #7 PAPIS snags the Provisional Pole with a lap of 114.021 mph (1:14.071) on his third circuit around the course.
RED FLAG waves at 3:22 p.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ slides into the outside wall at Turn 12 and grinds to a halt at the exit. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the team begins to ready the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.
At 3:25 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two session and under the Red Flag, the fastest overall qualifier and the fastest of Group Two #7 PAPIS with a lap of 114.020 mph (1:14.071; 1st overall), followed by #1 MONTOYA (113.522 mph; 1:14.396; 3rd overall) and #2 CASTRONEVES (113.355 mph; 1:14.506; 4th overall).
At 3:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group two session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 114.020 mph (1:14.071), followed now by #8 BRACK (113.622 mph; 1:14.331; 2nd overall) and #1 MONTOYA (113.522 mph; 1:14.396; 4th overall).
At 3:40 p.m., #3 CASTRONEVES climbs to 2nd overall with a speed of 113.654 mph (1:14.310) on his 12th lap of the session.
At 3:41 p.m., #7 PAPIS ups his overall-fastest speed with a lap of 114.280 mph (1:13.903).
At 3:42 p.m., #7 PAPIS spins as the rear end of his car kicks out entering Turn 5. PAPIS quickly rights the car and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.
At 3:43 p.m., #20 MORENO brushed the wall at Turn 13, damaging his left side tires. The driver regains control and continues to his Pit Box with a flat, left front tire.
RED FLAG waves 3:44 p.m. after #8 BRACK loses traction at Turn 11 and spins backward into the tire barrier, making fairly hard contact with the rear of the car against the barrier. The driver exits the car under his own power but the car sustains damage to the left side and well as both front and rear wings.
CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to end the Group Two qualifying session with #7 PAPIS sitting on the Provisional Pole with his earlier lap of 114.280 mph (1:13.903), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (113.654 mph; 1:14.310) and #8 BRACK (113.622 mph; 1:14.332). The fastest driver from Group One, #27 FRANCHITTI, wound up 5th on the Provisional Grid. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 different cars to the track in Friday afternoon's qualifying session with secondary cars utilized by #32X CARPENTIER, #55X KANAAN, #10X FONTANA, #16X JOURDAIN JR., #19X KUROSAWA, and #25X GARCIA JR. CART drivers turned 253 laps in the afternoon's Provisional Qualifying.
Quotes from Friday's top three qualifiers follow:
Max Papis: "Today was very good. The Miller team was the best today. The other guys better go home and find some more speed tonight because we've got a lot. I really enjoy this track. I was up here [on the provisional pole] in '98 with Arciero-Wells Racing and Toyota, but those were different circumstances. Now I've got new partners, and [team owner] Bobby [Rahal] has given me a really good car."
Helio Castroneves: "This morning the car was good, very, very fast. The track was pretty green early, but it got better and better, and the track was pretty good this afternoon. I had a little bit of understeer in qualifying, but I was going pretty fast at the end when the red flag came out. It would be nice if it would rain tomorrow and we could preserve a good starting position, but if it doesn't, we've still got a good car for tomorrow."
Kenny Brack: "I've had a pretty good car so far. I came to grips with the car pretty early here. Both me and Max were quick in qualifying. Towards the end I was pushing pretty hard and I crashed. But it wasn't damaged too badly and I think we'll be able to get it back together for tomorrow."
CART's new Chairman James Hardymon and interim president/CEO Bobby Rahal commented on their new roles.
James Hardymon: "I actually was asked by the board to step into a pretty cleanly defined role. I have a background of 38 years in the corporate world and CEO for the last seven or eight. I did have quite a bit of work in corporate governs, administration, things like that, that could add something to this being a public company. I do not plan to be an everyday person -- that's not what the chairman's supposed to do -- there's a CEO for that. I'm going to be here to support him and do things with the board for him and to conduct the board meetings."
(On his relationship with Bobby Rahal): "I got mad when he went out of the race occasionally and cheered when he won. It's gotten to be a very close relationship as years have gone by -- it's kind of gotten into a family situation. There's 20 years difference in age, so that's quite a bit of difference. He brought me into it, but I've learned a lot from a lot of these other people around the room here. I don't profess to be somebody that knows everything about this sport. I'm on seven New York Stock Exchange boards, American Standard, Circuit City, boards like that, so that's the life I sort of have since I retired at 65 from active duty. This is a chance to do a little bit more with a person I want to work with."
Bobby Rahal: "Naturally, I'm very excited about this new role for me. I first want to recognize Andrew for his contributions. He did a lot of very, very, good things for us, and I don't think anybody could forget that or not give credit where credit is due, and it was a difficult time. Nevertheless, I'm very pleased to be here. I love this sport; I have a passion for this sport. It's been my life. I am a huge believer in open wheel racing and I am fortunate to have my good friend Jim here, and all my friends on the board that I've competed against for many years, worked with, sometimes drove for over the years. I'm really excited about the future for CART, and now with the help of Jim and Bert Roberts, Fred Tucker, our outside directors, and all of our other board of directors, and everybody who's quick with an opinion, I think we can take this sport to greater heights, and that's what I'm dedicated to doing.
(On the timing of this announcement): Why now? I guess I speak for the board to some degree, and I think we felt it was time. There was no one particular thing. I think there were some opportunities for Andrew outside, and obviously we have some challenges ahead of us that can be beaten, can be conquered, but we need to get with the program and get it done and start the process. I think that we've taken a big step today towards that. There's a lot of effort. I have no illusions that it's going to be easy. I expect it's going to be very difficult, but with the kind of resources that all of us at CART have at our command, I think we can do what needs to be done to take open wheel racing to where it needs to be."
This concludes the Pit Notes from Friday from Detroit. We'll see you first thing Saturday morning for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Have a safe evening!