CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Michigan qualifying

After qualifying began for the Harrah's 500, rain began to fall and ultimately brought an end to qualifying. Starting positions were determined based on the morning practice session where many drivers posted lap times that were aided by the air...

After qualifying began for the Harrah's 500, rain began to fall and ultimately brought an end to qualifying. Starting positions were determined based on the morning practice session where many drivers posted lap times that were aided by the air flow or "draft" from another car while others posted lap times that did not.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We started both 500-mile races last year in third place but broke that trend because of the rain. We were going for the pole today but the rain came and we'll have to be happy with ninth place. Whether they went by points of practice times, it would have been the same for me but it would have definitely been nice to run for the pole. It's not every weekend that you have a shot at the pole. I guess if we had a crystal ball and could have predicted the rain we would have been running in the draft in the practice session. You can win this race from anywhere but it would have been nice to reward the team for their hard work with a good qualifying performance. Once qualifying was called, you had to switch focus to the race and not worry about could've, would've should've. It's going to all come down to the race now. The guy with the best car doesn't always win the pole or the race but it makes it easier on you for sure. We think we have a competitive car and a good shot to win the race if we can manage to run all day and stay away from the 500-mile gremlins."

- NOTE: Is currently 35 points back from first place in the point standings with 49 to leader Kenny Brack, 84. Is the REIGNING 500-MILE WINNER after driving to victory in the 2000 season-finale Marlboro 500 at The California Speedway. Hopes to score back-to-back 500-mile 500-mile victories here this weekend. Will be his eighth start here. Led 13 in 2000 before going off course after Kenny Brack attempted a pass between Fittipaldi and the wall with 30 laps to go. Fittipaldi's best Michigan International Speedway start was third last season and his strongest finish was eighth in 1999.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I know it doesn't mean a lot where you start this race but I'm very disappointed. I had the chance to go for the pole. That doesn't mean I would have gotten it but I think there were five guys capable of getting the pole and I think I was one of them. I think Max and Kenny would have been strong and so were Christian and myself. We ran a lot better this morning than we did on Friday but the car was is better in qualifying trim than race trim so far so we need to work on that before the race. "

- NOTE: Is currently 29 points out of first place in the CART standings with 55 points to leader Kenny Brack, 84. Will be his third Champ car race at MIS and first with NHR. Da Matta finished 17th in his two previous starts at the Michigan International Speedway. In '00 he had was waived out of the pits during a stop but the fuel was still connected to his race car and he was forced to retire from the race. He retired from the '99 event due to electrical problems.

CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 1:30 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN, and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .

-NHR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kenny Brack