CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI POSTED THE THIRD-QUICKEST TIME IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE TEXACO/HAVOLINE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON - Fittipaldi's time of 59.634 seconds (92.182 mph) was the third-fastest during provisional qualifying for Sunday's race.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI POSTED THE THIRD-QUICKEST TIME IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE TEXACO/HAVOLINE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON - Fittipaldi's time of 59.634 seconds (92.182 mph) was the third-fastest during provisional qualifying for Sunday's race. Team Kool Green driver Dario Franchitti set the fastest time of the day (59.434 seconds; 92.493 mph) while Jimmy Vasser was second-fastest (59.631 seconds; 92.187 mph). Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack lapped the 1.527-mile temporary street circuit in the fourth-fastest time (59.650 seconds; 92.158 mph), while Helio Castroneves was fifth (59.663 seconds; 92.138 mph) despite suffering an engine failure during the session.
TEAM RAHAL UNVEILS NEW PAINT SCHEME - The familiar No. 7 Miller Lite champ car driven by Max Papis is sporting a new paint scheme this weekend for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. The new look is designed to present the latest "Miller Lite theme" with white paint on the cockpit and engine cowling and blue paint on the car's sidepods and rear wing. Team Rahal is competing with the new paint scheme for the final three races - Houston, Australia and California - of the 2000 season in preparation of the 2001 Miller Lite promotional campaign that will include a television commercial with Papis.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 3rd - "I feel pretty good but it's a shame that I made a mistake. I braked a little bit too late and ran into the tires and generated a red flag, but we'll see tomorrow. I'm very happy with the car - we'll have to improve a little bit but I think we're going to be up there."
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 4th - "I'm happy with the progress we've made with the car, but we've definitely got to find some more speed for tomorrow because everyone else will go faster and the track will get faster and faster. The track is very bumpy - much bumpier than I expected - and the turns are basically 90 degrees and very slow, but I think we'll have a pretty good car for qualifying tomorrow."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 12th - "We were second in the first group, but I think we had a little bit more underneath us. I'm a little bit disappointed because held up during the session by a driver. I'm looking for the guys to have a little bit more respect for each other because it's not fair to do that, but it's good to be in the fast group for tomorrow and it'll be good to run on a grippier track tomorrow."
HOW DOES THE CAR FEEL? - "The car feels pretty good. We had a very good car in Vancouver so we came here really confident and the team has just given me a very good car. Ford has helped us to put the power down with different configurations of the engine mapping and it's been a big help for us."
ROBERTO MORENO (#20 Visteon Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 13th - "We did a lot of things (since the morning session). We worked on the accessories of the engine and made it very good. All we had to fine-tune it and it's been better. We made the set up much better although there's still some improvements we have to make for tomorrow. To run the racetrack, for me, was very important today. Now I can apply some of the things that we know towards tomorrow. My engineer did a good job today getting my car quick for this afternoon."
WITH THIS BEING YOUR FIRST RACE HERE, DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE ON THE TRACK THIS AFTERNOON? - "Oh yeah. Every time you drive you feel better. On a bumpy place like this, a street course, the more laps you do the better you become."
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 15th - "It's disappointing because we don't have the same amount of grip we had in the car last year here. We made a big improvement from this morning's session in the second session, so we made up significant time. Unfortunately I was on the edge and ended up going into the tire barrier, and then the eight-minute penalty really cost us. Despite that we still ended up with the fifth-fastest time in our session, but I think if we had those extra eight minutes on the second set of tires we could've had the fastest time in the session."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#40 Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 16th - "The car felt good this morning but we changed to the primary car and it wasn't good at all. We ran the backup car in qualifying but I got caught in a lot of traffic and didn't get a clean lap. Hopefully we can learn some things from Roberto (Moreno) so that we can improve the car in time for qualifying tomorrow."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 22nd - THAT EIGHT-MINUTE PENALTY REALLY HURT YOU TODAY. - "Yeah it did. Plus it took away our fast times and as the rubber gets heavier and heavier on the track you need to be there at the end (of the session) because that's when it's the fastest, but we'll see what's going to happen. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a better day."
HOW'S THE CAR FEEL? - "It was pretty good this morning. I was pretty happy. We had to switch cars this afternoon because we had an oil leak between the gearbox and the engine, so we'll see what that was."