Vasser's Gamble Vaults Him To The Second Row; Gonzalez Qualifies 11th For Mexico City Champ Car Finale MEXICO CITY (November 6, 2004) -- After a dismal day in Friday qualifying, 1996 Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser ( ...
Vasser's Gamble Vaults Him To The Second Row; Gonzalez Qualifies 11th For Mexico City Champ Car Finale
MEXICO CITY (November 6, 2004) -- After a dismal day in Friday qualifying, 1996 Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) vowed to move up the grid, banking on the fact that his PKV Racing squad still two sets of the softer alternate Bridgestone Potenza tires left. And the American Champ Car star did exactly that, posting a flyer of 1:27.038 (115.232 mph) which earned him the fourth spot on the grid for tomorrow's Champ Car finale in the heart of vibrant Mexico City. Teammate and Friday's fastest Mexican pilot Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) saw his top time of 1:27.610 (114.480 mph) clock in 11th quick overall, after the rookie turned in a season best sixth the previous afternoon.
Vasser wasted no time in the day's final qualifier around Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez' 2.786-mile circuit, speeding off pit lane just two minutes into a session where he put his 750hp Gulfstream on the second row for the 63-lap dash to the checkers.
"It paid off for us today after holding back the two sets of alternate tires yesterday," said Vasser. "We made a lot of changes in between our two stints -- probably the most we've made all season long. We'll be starting in the second row, so the Gulfstream car is within striking distance for the race. We just need to focus on the job at hand and get the result we need to finish the season in the top 10 in points."
After a steady start to the day, Gonzalez' second session was slowed by traffic. And when the dust settled under the blanket of Mexican sunshine, one of this weekend's favorites was left sitting with his engineers, pondering what might have been.
"The day started pretty well, and we were pretty happy with the Nextel car in the morning session," said Gonzalez. "We determined what we needed to do in terms of changes for qualifying, and the car improved. What's disappointing is the fact that we lost three tenths on my fastest lap because of traffic. That time would have moved us up to third on the grid. The PKV guys have been great for me all weekend long, and I thank them for their hard work. It's just a shame that some guys out their refuse to look in their mirrors, and end up slowing you down. We'll just go from here and concentrate on the morning warm up tomorrow and do the best we can."
Watch the PKV Racing duo of Vasser and Gonzalez compete tomorrow afternoon, November 7th, on Spike TV (4:00 pm ET/PT) in the season finale of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford, the Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate Presented by Banamex.