Kanaan, Andretti put Team 7-Eleven machines solidly in Indianapolis 500 field. INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 11, 2003) -- For Team 7-Eleven drivers Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti, Sunday's pole qualifying effort at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a...
Kanaan, Andretti put Team 7-Eleven machines solidly in Indianapolis 500 field.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 11, 2003) -- For Team 7-Eleven drivers Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti, Sunday's pole qualifying effort at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a "mission accomplished."
Both drivers sought to put their respective Team 7-Eleven rides firmly in the Indianapolis 500 field on a cold and blustery day, and that is what they did with relative ease. Kanaan, who held the top spot in qualifying for a good share of the day after making an attempt at approximately 3 p.m., placed his Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the middle of the front row, while Andretti secured a starting spot on the inside the fifth row after completing his run just after 1:30 p.m.
Andretti went out before his teammate and posted a four-lap qualifying average speed of 227.739 miles per hour. Although posting the 13th quickest qualifying speed of the day, Andretti was disappointed and described Sunday's weather conditions as the most difficult ever for a qualifying run at Indy.
Kanaan, who was considered by many to be a favorite for the pole position, lived up to expectations with a run that averaged 231.006 miles per hour over the 10-mile distance. Kanaan was one of only two drivers to break the 231-miles per hour barrier.
Two-time defending Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves won the pole with an average speed of 231.725 miles per hour. Fellow Andretti Green Racing teammate Robby Gordon, who also occupied the top spot for a period of time during the session, rounded out the front row with an effort of 230.205 miles per hour. Fellow AGR teammate Dan Wheldon also qualified up front with a speed of 229.958 miles per hour, which was good for fifth in the qualifying rundown.
A total of 24 cars are currently in the field with next Sunday's qualifying session remaining. Practice resumes at "The Brickyard" on Wednesday in preparation for the May 25th running of the Indy 500, which is slated to go green at 12 p.m. EDT and will air live on ABC Sports.
TONY KANAAN, #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"The whole Team 7-Eleven did a great job. I have to thank Michael, Kim (Green) and Kevin (Savoree) for giving me all their support. It was a great job by the team. The car was not the way I wanted it this morning, but the team made a couple changes this afternoon and gave me a great car."
KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:
"I'm extremely proud of the whole team. It is certainly all about teamwork. All four drivers, groups of engineers and all the mechanics have been working so well together. Really, to have three cars in the top five is pretty impressive. I feel a little bit for Michael. Michael had his hands full out there. It would have been great to see him up that high. But, we know Michael Andretti can win the race from wherever he starts and he's been concentrating on race setup most of the month."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, #7 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"I think we have a good car, but our qualifying car was horrible. That was one of my most eventful runs ever around here in qualifying. Every corner was different. One corner would push, the next corner would be loose and then the next lap it would be the opposite. It was just unbelievable. I've never had four laps like that that were so inconsistent."
TONY COTMAN, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM 7-ELEVEN:
"I'm pretty disappointed. I thought we had a better shot than that maybe -- not necessarily at the pole, but at least up in the first couple rows. But, at the end of the day we're in the race and that is what counts."
- AGR -