Lehigh Valley, Pa., May 5, 2001 - Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi qualified the ...
Lehigh Valley, Pa., May 5, 2001 - Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi qualified the #5 Pioneer/DENSO car in 18th position today at Nazareth Speedway with a fast lap of 166.827 mph, 20.414 seconds. Sunday's Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota will be the Japanese driver's first-ever oval track race ever.
"I'm very happy with my qualifying time today," Tora said. "After the first lap I was not sure I could go faster, but after crossing the start/finish line I didn't stop pushing and the 20.4-second final qualifying lap was a pleasant surprise. Our work this weekend is not done yet however, we can still make the car better for the race tomorrow."
Tora and the Walker Racing CART FedEx Championship Series team tested at the .946-mile tri-oval racetrack late in April and posted a fastest time of 20.8 seconds around the track in similar weather conditions.
"Nazareth is a challenging racetrack," said owner Derrick Walker. "And with CART's in-season testing restrictions it was important for us to test here before the race. We had a very productive session in April and it helped us out a lot.
Every session we have on this track makes us better and better. Tora attacks this track quite well, and he has taken to the ovals very well, we just need to work on getting the car better for him for tomorrow.
This track is a very deceiving track. It looks like every other track, but it's actually quite difficult to figure out. It changes quite dramatically during the race so getting a very consistent car for tomorrow is very important since you can run for 70-odd laps between pit stops, so it's important to have a good set-up going into the race."
The Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota will be broadcast live on Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. (ET).