Bright wins Houston provisional pole

HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2000) - - Australian Indy Lights rookie Jason Bright made it look easy in winning the provisional pole in Friday’s qualifying session at the Grand Prix of Houston. Bright inked his name on the provisional front...

HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2000) - - Australian Indy Lights rookie Jason Bright made it look easy in winning the provisional pole in Friday’s qualifying session at the Grand Prix of Houston. Bright inked his name on the provisional front when he ran a fast lap of 1:05.964 = 83.336 mph on lap 13 of his 15 completed qualifying laps. "We've made key improvements over the last couple of races," said Bright. "A couple of mechanical problems got in our way at Vancouver. We had a much better car than we showed. We caught up on missed testing after St. Louis. We headed straight to Topeka after Gateway. I think we learned more in that one day of testing than we had in most of our testing for the year. We're finally back to where we were before we crashed at Chicago." The 30-minute qualifying session began at 1:45 p.m. (CT) under clear skies and 85 degrees. Bright was the fastest driver after 10 minutes at 1:06.284 = 82.934 mph. Teammates Casey Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., and Townsend Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., qualified seventh and eighth place, respectively. Mears piloted the Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola to a session best 1:06.407 = 82.780 mph. "Jason's car found the grip we've been searching for," said Mears. "We'll compare notes in debriefing and possibly make some adjustments based on those conversations. The car is so close to being where I want it for this circuit but we haven't found the final bits of the puzzle to make it really competitive." Bell, meanwhile, greatly improved from a disappointing morning practice in the DirecPC Lola at 1:06.748 = 82.358 mph. "We've definitely improved from practice but we still have too many unresolved problems that are affecting the car's overall performance," said Bell. "I think the car is handling well enough to be a top-five qualifier but we have to make the most out of fine tuning the car. I didn't run a clean lap so that didn't help either. We deserve to be where we are right now." One major incident interrupted qualifying shortly past the midpoint of the session when Tony Renna lost control exiting turn nine of the 10-turn, 1.527-mile circuit and crashed into the wall. The car came to a rest sideways with the nose pointing to the outside. Andy Boss was unable to slow in rounding the same corner under a fast yellow flag and slammed into Renna's car. Neither driver was injured, but both received eight minute penalties for the stoppage as well as retiring from the session.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Casey Mears , Townsend Bell , Tony Renna , Jason Bright