ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 17, 2002)-- Today's qualifying for Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti's home race ended up a bit disappointing. Â Andretti ran into traffic on his final fast lap and in trying to avoid traffic, Andretti flat...
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 17, 2002)-- Today's qualifying for Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti's home race ended up a bit disappointing. Andretti ran into traffic on his final fast lap and in trying to avoid traffic, Andretti flat spotted his tires, which cost him almost a full second. "It was a tough deal," said Andretti. "I locked up my tires trying to dive under (Oriol) Servia and flat spotted the tires so I just couldn't squeeze anything else out of the race car on that last lap." Andretti and the majority of the 18 car field played the qualifying waiting game, not going out on track until almost 40 minutes had elapsed in the 60 minute session. "That's the nature of the beast," explained general manager Kim Green. "Everyone is out in those final minutes trying to use the same piece of race track."
Andretti will be starting from the 14th position for tomorrow's 60-lap Motorola 220 on the 4.048-mile road course and despite the ability to pass on this track; Andretti thinks track position will be the determining factor in the outcome of the race. "You can pass out here but the field is so evenly matched that it won't be easy," commented Andretti. Andretti doesn't have much experience starting from the back of the field at Road America. Sunday will be his 18th start at this venue and he's only started out of the top ten on one previous occasion. But don't count the veteran driver out, in his 18 starts, he has won on three occasions and finished second four times including a second place finish last year.
Bruno Junqueira took today's pole with a time of 1:42.151 seconds while Cristiano daMatta will line up second based on his time of 1:42.640 seconds and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top three with a time of 1:42.684 seconds. Michael's technical partners Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti qualified 4th and 6th respectively with times of 1:42.927 seconds and 1:42.990 seconds. Team Motorola will resume practice tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. with the 60-lap race, airing live on SpeedChannel, set to begin at 2:00 p.m. CT.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone "I had a lap of 1:42.7 seconds going which would have put us fourth on the grid but (Oriol) Servia got in my way and I locked up my tires trying to dive under him and that flat spotted my tires. I stayed out and tried to stay in the throttle, but the car was bouncing because of the flat spot so I certainly didn't get any more out of the race car. It's tough because even though you can pass on this track, the competition is pretty evenly matched so that will be make it difficult to get an advantage and from where we're starting it will make it that much harder."
Kim Green -- General Manager
"We had a good car this afternoon so I'm pretty disappointed with our results. Michael had a lap going at the end that would have placed us top five which is where we expected to qualify. We did a good job but there was just traffic and that's the nature of this beast when you're all trying to run on the same piece of race track. We've got a good race car so we'll need to make some moves early in tomorrow's race to put us up near the front."