CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Qualifying Story

CART Online (March 14, 1998) -- Canadian Greg Moore became the youngest pole winner in FedEx Championship Series history at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on Saturday, capturing the pole for Sunday's Marlboro Grand Prix...

CART Online (March 14, 1998) -- Canadian Greg Moore became the youngest pole winner in FedEx Championship Series history at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on Saturday, capturing the pole for Sunday's Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota (ABC-TV, live, 1:30 p.m. ET) in record-setting fashion. Moore (Player's/Indeck Reynard Mercedes) shredded the track record while averaging 217.541 miles per hour (24.856 seconds) on his quickest lap of the 1.502-mile oval. It was the first pole position of his three-year FedEx Championship Series career and made him the youngest pole winner in CART history at 22 years, 10 months and 2 days. John Paul Jr. was 23 years, 7 months and 18 days old when he won the pole at Las Vegas on October 7, 1983. It marks the second time in 10 months that Moore's burgeoning career has been highlighted by youth being served in CART annals. In June, Moore became the youngest race winner in CART history when he won at Milwaukee at age 22 years, 1 month and 29 days, eclipsing the mark set by Al Unser Jr. in 1984. Moore's record lap obliterated the previous qualifying standard of 198.590 mph set by Paul Tracy in 1996. The Homestead oval was reconfigured into a continuous-radius layout last spring and summer, courtesy of a renovation project in excess of $8 million. Moore collected $10,000 from the Marlboro Pole Award fund for his historic pole and has the opportunity to win an additional $120,000 in rollover bonus money with a victory Sunday. The rollover bonus, which accumulates at a rate of $15,000 per race, has gone unclaimed since Alex Zanardi's victory at Cleveland in July to make the total the second largest in the pole award's history. "Hopefully, it's a sign of good things to come," Moore said. "The pole is nice, but the nicest thing about it is the $130,000 [Marlboro money]. We've been fairly consistent in qualifying, but all the hard work by the Player's team over the winter is starting to pay off. The most important thing is how we do for 225 miles tomorrow." Moore did not have the benefit of having the historic event come with his father Ric on hand. The elder Moore is recuperating from pneumonia and did not make the trip. It is the first race of Greg's that Ric has missed in the last 13 years. "I spoke to him on the phone [afterward] and he said to me, 'Does this mean I can't come to any more races?''' the younger Moore said. Andre Ribeiro (Marlboro Penske Mercedes) qualified second, his first front-row start since winning the pole position at Toronto in 1996. Ribeiro received some advice from teammate Al Unser Jr. prior to his qualifying run. "It was a great attitude from Al," Ribeiro said. "He came immediately from his [qualifying] run to my car and gave me some tips about the track. I was very happy to see his attitude. It was fantastic to see it. We had a really good run. It shows the car is improving every time on the track." Jimmy Vasser (Target Reynard Honda) qualified third at 214.520 mph, his third top-three start in the last four races. With a win in '96 and a third-place finish last year, he is the only driver to earn top-three finishes in each of the last two events at Homestead. "All in all, I was really pleased with the balance of the car," Vasser said. "It was really close, the best we've been all weekend. We're coming up with something a little better for tomorrow, and hopefully that will give us a chance to win it." Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) qualified fourth at 214.155 mph, his best start since third at Portland last year in his return from a broken leg which caused him to miss seven events. Adrian Fernandez starts fifth, his best since a third at Toronto in '96, site of his only FedEx Championship Series career victory. Less than a second separated the top 17 drivers, which included six different nationalities being represented among the top seven. "CART 2Day" airs on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET, one-half hour prior to ABC's live race broadcast.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , John Paul , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore