LEXINGTON, OHIO - SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2001 -- Round ...
LEXINGTON, OHIO - SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2001 -- Round #13 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing's Jimmy Vasser qualified a season high fourth while teammate Roberto Moreno will line-up 15th for tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Vasser, driving the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, started the day third on the combined speed chart following Friday's twin practice sessions with a fast time of 66.788 seconds (121.710 mph). In Saturday morning practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing team experimented with some ideas, which resulted in speed gains. Vasser's quick lap in the morning practice was 66.496 seconds (122.247 mph), which was the sixth fastest time of the session.
In qualifying Vasser ran in the second or "fast group" because he is in the upper half of the point standings. He clocked his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying turning a lap of 65.931 seconds (123.293 mph). In addition to being the fourth fastest time of the day, Vasser was able to close the gap between himself and the top spot by over .1 of a second.
"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard was very good in qualifying," Vasser said. "It was very competitive out there today so a couple of tenths was really important. I thought I had a lap that was a couple of tenths faster, but somehow I lost time in the last corner. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team did a good job this weekend preparing the car. Overall we are happy starting fourth on the grid, but the main thing is to have a good race tomorrow and score a lot of points so we can get our season back on track," Vasser concluded.
Vasser has now qualified in the top-10 seven times in 13 attempts this season. In ten appearances at Mid-Ohio this is his second highest starting position. His best qualifying position is second in 1996 and 1998. Vasser has now qualified in
the top-10 seven times and in six of his last seven races at Mid-Ohio.
Currently tenth in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series standings with 50 points, Vasser is just a "hot streak" away from rejoining the top-five in the point's race.
The native of California has finished in the top- five four times and has placed in the top-six in five of 11 races this year. He has finished in the top-six in three of the six road/street races this year. Vasser has finished in the top-10 five times including four of the last six years at Mid-Ohio and in the top-five three of the last five years. His best finish is second in 1996.
In 95 CART career road/street races, the Las Vegas, Nevada resident has finished in the points 56 times with 49 top-10 finishes, 25 top-five showings, 14 podium appearances and four wins. He has started 158 CART races earning 91 top-10 finishes including 26 podium showings. Vasser has completed 92 of his last 114 races placing in the points 86 times (dating to Milwaukee `95).
Moreno, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, did not fair as well as is teammate despite making equally significant gains in practice. Starting the day 12th on the combined practice report with a fast time of 67.280 seconds (120.820 mph), Moreno improved to 66.871 seconds (121.559 mph) in morning practice placing him 11th on the speed charts. In qualifying he ran with the first group and continued to get faster running a quick time of 66.550 seconds (122.146 mph). However, on the next lap, which the computer had him running between .2 and .3 seconds faster, his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator launching him on an off-road excursion. The problem occurred when the sand paper that is attached to the brake pedal to prevent the driver's foot from slipping while battling the twisting corners with their elevation changes on the challenging 2.2-mile permanent road course, peeled off. Although Moreno was able to regain enough control to prevent significant damage to the car, the incident ended his qualifying session.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team did a good job today and the whole weekend," Moreno said. "We have improved the car every session and we had a good qualifying effort. I was able to run my fastest time of the weekend in qualifying, which is what you want to do. I had a problem on what should have been my fastest lap when my foot slipped off the brake pedal and hit the accelerator. I was able to get back on the brake, gain control of the car and slow down before I hit the tires otherwise it would have been a big crash. The lap looked like it was going to be a good one so that is unfortunate," Moreno explained. "Overall the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard is a very good, very quick car so I am looking forward to tomorrow's race," Moreno concluded.
The native of Brazil has now qualified in the top-10 in five of 13 races this year. He has started in the top-10 in three of his last five and four of his last seven races. Moreno, who is making his sixth appearance at Mid-Ohio, has qualified in the top-10 twice with a best starting position of fifth in 1985. His best finish is 11th, last year.
The Weston, Flordia resident, who is tied for 12th in the standings with 44 points, has completed ten of the 11 races, the most of any driver, and is second in laps and miles completed. He has placed in the points in eight of the 11 races including five of the last six and eight of the last 10. Moreno has four top-10 finishes and two podium appearances. He has finished in the points in five of the six road/street events this year with three top-10 showings including both the team's podium finishes placing a season high second at Portland and third at Detroit.
Moreno has finished in the points in 16 of his last 25 road/street course races with 12 top-10 placements, seven top-five showings and five podiums including one victory (career first, and only, Cleveland 2000). He has finished in the top-10 in 22 of his last 44 starts and in the points 30 times.
Vasser's fourth place starting position is Patrick Racing's second best qualifying effort at Mid-Ohio in 26 attempts. The team's best starting position is third (Emerson Fittipaldi - 1986). Patrick Racing has now qualified in the top-10 13 times at Mid-Ohio. They have finished in the points 17 times with 15 top-10 showings, nine top-five finishes and two wins (Fittipaldi - 1988 and Adrian Fernandez - 1998).
The Miller Lite 200 will be run tomorrow, Sunday, August 12 at 12:00 PM (ET) and will be televised live on ESPN.