IRL: Texas II: AGR/Kanaan Friday report

FORT WORTH, Texas. (Oct. 10, 2003) -- Qualifying for Sunday's Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series finale was the first step in an important weekend for Team 7-Eleven drivers Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon. With that out of the way, the two...

FORT WORTH, Texas. (Oct. 10, 2003) -- Qualifying for Sunday's Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series finale was the first step in an important weekend for Team 7-Eleven drivers Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon. With that out of the way, the two drivers are now focused exclusively on race day and each of their respective title chases.

Kanaan, who is pursuing his first IndyCar Series title, turned a lap of 220.839 miles per hour to earn the ninth starting spot for Sunday?s 200-lap series finale, while Wheldon -- who is battling for rookie of the year honors -- clocked in 16th at 219.465. Kanaan heads into round 16 of the 2003 schedule just seven points behind co-leaders Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. Wheldon trails Yasukawa by only four markers in the fight for the rookie title.

Gil de Ferran, who will run the final IndyCar race of his career on Sunday, won the pole Friday night with a lap of 222.864 miles per hour. Dixon qualified second at 222.856. Dixon's teammate Tomas Scheckter slotted in third at 221.960 and was followed by Felipe Giaffone (221.954) and Castroneves (221.881).

Sunday's 300-mile event is set to go green at 3:45 p.m. (EDT) and will air live on ESPN. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m.

TONY KANAAN, #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:

"I don't understand what happened in qualifying. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good run for us. But, we'll try to do better in the race. We know we have a good race car. We know we can race. It's just going to be a little more difficult from where we are starting. But, this has been a team effort all year long and I'm sure, as a team, we will get ourselves in the right position for Sunday."

ERIC COWDIN, RACE ENGINEER, #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:

"We're very disappointed. The team and Honda put a lot of effort into this last race. The last two weeks have been flat-out and we expected more out of this, to be quite honest with you. The race is obviously a whole different ballgame. Our focus has always been on the race and I think we're in good shape there. We've got the speed in race trim. We're just a little disappointed in our qualifying performance tonight."

DAN WHELDON, #7 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:

"We're very disappointed with our qualifying performance. We don't actually know why we ran the speed that we ran, but we'll go back to the truck and have a look at the data. The main thing is that we've got a good car for the race. Certainly, the Team 7-Eleven crew will be ready to go by Sunday."

TONY COTMAN, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM 7-ELEVEN:

"We're extremely disappointed with qualifying, obviously. We had a little problem, but those things happen. Now, we know what we've got to do on Sunday. We've got to try something different and make something happen. We really don't have a lot to lose from where we're starting. We definitely won't be conservative. We'll just see what happens. You never know."

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon