POLE: CART FedEx points leader Gil de Ferran set the fastest lap time of 58.757 to earn the pole position. MICHAEL ANDRETTI, ...
POLE: CART FedEx points leader Gil de Ferran set the fastest lap time of 58.757 to earn the pole position.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola
QUALIFYING POSITION: 5th (58.909)
* NOTES: Jumped from 10th to 5th place on the starting grid in final qualifying. Will be his 3rd start at Houston. Has scored one third-place finish here in 1999 and had problems on the grid in the inaugural race in 1998 and barely completed two laps.
"Our progress was good in qualifying but I think there was more in the car. I was out there forever trying to get a clear lap. Starting fifth is nice - we can do what the leaders are doing pit wise. The car is good on used tires, which will be good for the race. I think we have a car to fight with and that is what we need to do now for the Championship -- Fight! I think the race will be great for the fans because there are so many different stories to watch. There are going to be some relieved and happy drivers leaving here tomorrow and some really disappointed ones. I have been in the latter group the past few races so it's time to be in the first group. We are really focused on making the people in the Texaco/Havoline suites happy tomorrow as well as the fans watching at home."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola:
QUALIFYING POSITION: 7th (59.131)
* NOTES: Although he cut one-half of a second off of his provisional qualifying time set yesterday, Fittipaldi dropped from third to seventh in final qualifying today after sitting out the final eight minutes of qualifying. Fittipaldi and Dario Franchitti were each given an eight-minute penalty for separate incidents, which brought out the red flag in the final two minutes of Friday's qualifying session when he and Dario Franchitti ran into the tires at separate parts of the course. Ran as high as second last year when a late fuel stop caused him to drop to seventh. Moved into fourth place in the 1998 event before the spinning (rain) car of Greg Moore took him out of the race.
"The car wasn't that great in the morning session so we had to make some changes for qualifying. We had to run both sets of (new) tires, one after the other, because of the eight-minute penalty. I thought we would be in the top-five but we will have to start seventh. I think the race will come down to fuel strategy. We were in second place last year but had to pit for a splash of fuel on the final lap last year and dropped all the way to seventh place. We don't want that to happen this year. The plan is to stay on the black stuff (track) the whole time and bring the car to the checkered flag."