IRL: Phoenix: Andretti, Kanaan Saturday report

Team 7-Eleven's Tony Kanaan earns second pole position in a row. PHOENIX, Arizona (March 22, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven's Tony Kanaan claimed his second consecutive Indy Racing League IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Award, a second $10,000 bonus and will...

Team 7-Eleven's Tony Kanaan earns second pole position in a row.

PHOENIX, Arizona (March 22, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven's Tony Kanaan claimed his second consecutive Indy Racing League IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Award, a second $10,000 bonus and will start from the pole position in tomorrow's Purex/Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kanaan's teammate at Team 7-Eleven, Michael Andretti will start fifth.

Today's pole position was the second in a row for Kanaan who earned the same front row spot at the season opener in Homestead, Florida three weeks ago. After posting the second quickest time in the today's morning practice session, the 29-year old Brazilian lined up sixteenth for the weekend's qualifying session. Driving the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, Kanaan blistered around the one-mile desert oval at a speed of 178.512 mph (20.1667 seconds) to set the fastest lap of the day. It was the first time that Kanaan has earned back-to-back pole positions in his career in Indy-style racing contests and his sixth pole position since 1998. By virtue of today's performance Kanaan also becomes the first driver to earn consecutive pole positions in the first two races of an IRL IndyCar Series season.

Michael Andretti, who is also a co-owner of Andretti Green Racing, was pleased by Kanaan's performance but unable to maneuver his #7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone into the outside pole position to earn a repeat of Team 7-Eleven's Homestead front row start. The veteran Andretti will start his 313th career race from inside Row 3 after posting a fast lap of 176.842 mph (20.3572 seconds). Team 7- Eleven's technical partner Dario Franchitti who drives Andretti Green Racing's #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola entry will start ninth after posting a fast lap of 176.296 mph (20.4202 seconds).

Felipe Giafone will start on the outside of the front row after marking a best lap of 177.766 mph (20.2515 seconds). Scott Dixon will start third with a lap of 177.661 mph (20.2633 seconds).

Round 2 of the IndyCar Series season will start at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The race will be broadcast live on ABC.

Tony Kanaan , Team 7-Eleven
"I know that when it comes to qualifying, my job is to get the best out of the car that I have been given. We juggled things a bit in the morning practice, it was a turn here, half a turn there but in the end we decided not to be too greedy and just go out there with the car that we had. Evidently it was the right decision. I'm so grateful to Michael (Andretti) for giving me a chance to be here. I had a tough year last year and even though a lot of people started doubting my ability, Michael never did. The best gift I can give to him and to the whole Team 7-Eleven crew who have worked so hard on my car, is another pole position. We still have to try to win the race though. You have to be close to win and we're getting close. I hope that we can pull it off tomorrow."

Eric Cowdin , Race Engineer
"This is really a team effort. Everyone at Andretti Green Racing has worked very well together over the past few days. I think we're going into this race much more confident with our race setup than we were at Homestead. This is an incredible atmosphere to work in. All the drivers, crew and engineers work together and we're gaining experience at a much faster rate than other teams coming into the IRL would as a result of this effort. I know that getting Team 7-Eleven onto the pole is where we want to be. We're feeling very good about our chances tomorrow."

Michael Andretti , Team 7-Eleven
"The 7-Eleven car was as good as we could get it. I was flat out all around and we may have been missing a bit of downforce. This is a really good race track, it has a lot of history. They haven't changed it over the years and it's still as much of a challenge to drive as it always has been. I'm very happy for Team 7-Eleven today, Tony Kanaan did an awesome job of putting the car on the pole for the second race in a row. Now if we can turn that into a win, we'll be really happy."

Kim Green , President -- Andretti Green Racing
"Certainly we are very pleased to have another Team 7-Eleven pole position, but we'd easily swap this pole position for a race win tomorrow. We're going to prepare ourselves a good race car and hope for the best. We're very proud of our whole team. Everyone is working so well together. All three of the Andretti Green cars are running well, but qualifying is extremely competitive on this circuit and Tony (Kanaan) got through turns 1 and 2 almost perfect and that gave him a little bit of an edge over everyone else. We'll go out there tomorrow and try to win this one."

- AGR -

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kim Green