Notes: TEAM RAHAL DRIVER KENNY BRACK CLAIMS THE POLE - Kenny Brack earned his second career CART pole position and his third straight front row start for tomorrow's Firestone Firehawk 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Brack's lapped the 1.5-mile...
TEAM RAHAL DRIVER KENNY BRACK CLAIMS THE POLE - Kenny Brack earned his second career CART pole position and his third straight front row start for tomorrow's Firestone Firehawk 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Brack's lapped the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 22.854 seconds in an average speed of 233.447 miles per hour, bettering Patrick Carpentier's time of 22.864 seconds (233.345 miles per hour) set earlier in the session. Brack and Carpentier are the only two drivers that managed to break the 233-mile per hour barrier during qualifying. Sigma's Oriol Servia set the third-quickest qualifying time of the day (22.908 seconds; 232.978 miles per hour), while Bryan Herta completed Ford-Cosworth's sweep of the first two rows with the fourth-fastest qualifying lap (22.931 seconds; 232.663 miles per hour.
FORD-COSWORTH EARNS ITS SECOND POLE THIS SEASON - Kenny Brack's pole position for the Firestone Firehawk 600 is Ford-Cosworth's second this season (Brack - Mexico) and 58th overall since Ford re-entered CART in 1992. The pole is also Ford-Cosworth's first on an oval since last season when Alex Tagliani led the field to the green flag in Brazil.
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 1st - DO YOU THINK YOUR PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRACK HAS HELPED YOU THIS WEEKEND? "I don't think so. Right now everyone else has caught up and it's just going to come down to who has the best car in these conditions, you know, less drag and more horsepower. I think my run was a little faster than I expected, but otherwise everything else was what I expected it to be."
TAKE ME THROUGH A LAP HERE. "Well, you approach Turn One and you don't think the car is going to turn, so you approach the banking and it feels like you're in a jet fighter because you get pushed down so much. Then you shoot out of the corner and as soon as you do you're out of it and you're into Turn Four. It's a short straightaway, but it goes by so fast and this is a very, very fast and exciting place."
DO YOU THINK YOU COULD'VE GONE ANY FASTER? "You're always thinking you can go faster, but it was a good lap and I think that was the maximum we could've done with what we had."
YOU'VE BEEN VERY GOOD IN QUALIFYING THUS FAR THIS SEASON. "We want to really look for the checkered flag tomorrow, but starting up front is obviously good. Hopefully we won't get involved with any action at the start."
SINCE YOU'VE RACED HERE BEFORE, WILL STARTING FROM THE POLE HELP YOU TOMORROW? "It's hard to say. I know what to expect, but the problem is that there are a lot of drivers here that have never been here before. We all have to be very, very gracious to each other and not run like we usually run because this place will bite you if you do."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 2nd - "I'm very happy. The car was a little loose but loose is fast in qualifying, so it was good. I think we did everything we could and I really think we have a really good race set up, so I think we'll be good for the race."
HOW'S THE WRIST THAT YOU HURT IN LONG BEACH? "We put some foam on the steering wheel to minimize the vibration and it seems to have helped quite a bit. My wrist is actually quite good and Dr. Trammell is quite a magician."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN IN THE RACE TOMORROW? "It's a long race at that speed, especially on a short track like this, so we're going to try and stay on the lead lap and stick with the leaders. We'll fight with them if we're still there at the end so we'll see what we have in the last 30 laps."
ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 3rd - "I thought I would be even faster on the second lap because I felt like I had better speed going into Turn One, but these things happen in racing."
ARE YOU WORRIED THAT A MECHANICAL FAILURE MIGHT KNOCK YOU OUT OF THE RACE EARLY? "I know Ford has worked hard and I was using a qualifying engine and these can happen with these kinds of engines. But I'm sure that the guys at Ford will work hard to make sure the engine lasts the whole race."
BRYAN HERTA (#77 Zakspeed/Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 4th - YOU HAVEN'T RACED ON AN OVAL IN QUITE SOME TIME, SO HAS IT BEEN TOUGH TO ADAPT TO THE TRACK? "It's been a little tough to adapt because it's a whole different set of circumstances here. It's real bumpy and the banking is real high, so we really didn't know what to expect with the car. Luckily (chief engineer) Lee Dykstra gave me a really good car to start with and all we've had to do is make some fine tuning adjustments."
DO YOU FEEL PRETTY COMFORTABLE GOING INTO A LONG RACE TOMORROW? "I think so, but I don't think anybody really knows what to expect. We've tried to run a little bit in traffic but that's been with only one or two cars. Tomorrow we're going to be running in 10- and 20-car packs so it's going to take everybody using their head out there tomorrow to come through this thing."
YOU HAD A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE RUN. "I would've liked to have been a little quicker to try and get a shot at the pole, but the important things is we've had a good car all weekend and hopefully we can stay up there at the front and run a nice clean race tomorrow."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE TOMORROW? "This is not a street circuit where you're tooth and nail, wheel to wheel with each other. You're definitely wheel to wheel with each other but you've go to take care of each other out here with these speeds and the banking we've got here. It's going to take everyone using their heads and looking out for one another during the race."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE WAY THIS TEAM IS COMING TOGETHER? "I'm very happy. This is our third race together and my first time on an oval in a year and a half, so I don't think we really could've expected much more right now. As long as the improvement continues then I'm going to be really happy."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 8th - "We had a problem with the engine, actually. The popoff valve was not working and I had to come down a few clicks on the boost, which is crucial, and we were not running as fast as we needed to be. They changed the popoff valve before qualifying and then we had a problem with it."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 13th - "I wasn't happy with my qualifying effort at the time, but I think we're going to be very good in the race tomorrow. I think the car will be good for tomorrow, which is the most important part of the weekend."
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 17th - "I don't know (what happened). I was flat out and I'm very disappointed because this is the slowest I've gone in two days."
QUALIFYING IS ONE THING, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE FAST DURING THE RACE. "Yeah, but that's not the case. Something must've been wrong because I was 233 (miles per hour) by myself this morning. I'm extremely disappointed because I was out there to put the car in the top six. I was flat out and going only 230."
MAYBE IT WAS WITH THE WAY THE CAR WAS BALANCED? "No, no ... it wasn't the balance because the car was perfect. I don't know what the problem was and we'll have to check because this is very poor."
BRUCE WOOD, Cosworth Racing's CART Program Director - "I think to have the top four starters is probably the best we've had since 1995, and we had three quarters of the grid in '95. It's a fantastic achievement, particularly at a place like this which I suspect will be the fastest track we run at. This is a pure power circuit because most of the drivers have been flat out around this place, so it feels good to come here and demonstrate that we have an advantage there. It's also fantastic for Kenny, who's had a very good start to the season. He's performed very well everywhere but it just hasn't come together for him in a race, so hopefully this will be a change of luck for him. The competition from Toyota and Honda has stepped up quite a bit this year, so it's kind of nice to repay the people who have believed in us."
WHAT CONCERNS YOU ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW? "It's a long race and it's definitely a very high duty cycle (for the engine), so durability is a major concern. All of our drivers know that and know that they have to treat this like a 500-mile race, which is to be careful with the engine and be conservative. It's almost certainly going to turn out to be one of those races like the 500's where if you stay on the lead lap the only racing that happens in the last 20 miles. We're just telling the drivers to be gentle out there and stay off the walls."