#21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force Firestone Indy 200 - Friday, July 19, 2002 - Qualifying Notes/Quotes Nashville Superspeedway - Nashville, Tenn. - 1.33-Mile Concrete Oval Round 10 of 15 on the 2002 Indy Racing League
Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force qualified eighth this evening for Saturday night's Firestone Indy 200 Indy Racing League event at the Nashville Superspeedway. Giaffone circled the 1.33-mile concrete oval in 23.0946 seconds (202.645 mph) on his second of two qualifying laps. It was a mere 28-thousandths of a second off the fast lap of polesitter Billy Boat, but good enough only to put Giaffone on the outside of the fourth row for Saturday night's event. This afternoon, Giaffone was eighth in the opening practice session and third in the late-afternoon session.
Billy Boat, who was fastest in both practice sessions, earned the pole with a lap of 22.9666 seconds (203.774 mph). He'll be joined on the front row by Helio Castroneves, whose lap of 23.0130 seconds (203.363 mph) was good enough for the second spot on the grid. Defending series champion Sam Hornish, Jr., will start third after a fast qualifying lap of 23.0446 seconds (203.084 mph). The entire 21-car field was separated by just nine-tenths of a second.
Race time Saturday is 7:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. EDT) with a live broadcast set for ESPN2. Final practice begins at 2:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. EDT). Giaffone is on a streak of seven top-six finishes in a row, during which he has qualified everywhere from third at Pikes Peak in June, to 19th at Kansas two weekends ago on his way to a fourth-place finish.
"I believe the Hollywood car is better than this position on the grid makes you believe. To start a 200-lap race on the outside of the fourth row won't be so bad, as we have a good race car. During the first practice today, I had the eighth fastest lap using basically our race setup. We expected to do better in qualifying, as I had the third fastest lap in the second practice with our qualifying setup. But something happened and our qualifying lap was a tenth of second slower than our best lap in the second practice. We still have to figure out what happened, but probably it was just a small difference in the track conditions. And the cars here are so close. The first nine spots are in the same tenth of second. I did my best, and completed my two qualifying laps flat out. This isn't a track that will be easy to pass on, but I believe we are going to be in good shape with a good race car."