Alex Gurney earns pole at Cleveland

Cleveland, OH (July 1, 2000) The only thing missing from Alex Gurney's (All American Racers / Swift 008.a) weekend, was his father to share in his success. Alex, the son of legendary racing star, Dan Gurney, earned his first career Atlantic...

Cleveland, OH (July 1, 2000) The only thing missing from Alex Gurney's (All American Racers / Swift 008.a) weekend, was his father to share in his success. Alex, the son of legendary racing star, Dan Gurney, earned his first career Atlantic pole position during today's qualifying session for Sunday's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. The young Newport Beach, California, native admitted that he was somewhat disappointed that his father couldn't be there with him. Gurney had a lot to celebrate. Not only did he score the pole, he also set a new track qualifying record of 1:08.484 (111.136 mph), getting there.

"It's too bad my father isn't here right now," said Gurney, "he's in France and I'm going to call him after this (the press conference). I think that it's pretty impressive that halfway through our first season we are on the pole."

Gurney shaved nearly three-tenths of a second off of the existing record of 1:08.773, which was set by DSTP Motorsports Buddy Rice in Friday's qualifying period. Argentinean Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing / 3B Engine Valves / Swift 008.a), who will start outside pole, and Rice, who will start third, all set times under the record established yesterday. Basso set a 1:08.638, while Rice recorded a 1:08.664. "I was really able to put together a good clean lap," said Gurney. "My engineer is awesome and the car worked really well over the bumps. It feels good to be here (in a press conference); I've never been to one of these! I hope it's the first of many. I ran here before in a Barber Dodge, so I had some knowledge of the track. In the last chicane, on my pole lap, I knew I had a good lap and I went for a little bit extra, and I just made it through, so there's some extra time to get there. You have no idea what this means for AAR (All American Racers), it's a big boost to the team. We've definitely come a long way." Basso, who clocked his fastest time on the final lap of the session, admitted that tires were a major factor in his improvement.

"Our secret was that we had new tires. We had old tires yesterday, but we made a few changes to the car and put on new tires, and I was able to get a clean lap," said Basso. "At the beginning of the session, there was a lot of traffic, but when I was able to get up to speed, the car went very fast. I don't feel any pressure to do well because it's my first time on this track. My team has been doing a great job and I am very happy for them." Rice, who currently sits in third in the Atlantic drivers race, was satisfied with his starting spot. "Overall we're real happy with the car, " he said. "We made some adjustments prior to qualifying that didn't work as we had hoped, and it would have taken too long to change it back during the session. We weren't that far off. With one more lap we could have been pretty close to Alex's time. We'll make some changes for tomorrow and see where we're at in the warm-up. I'm glad we're starting the race near the front. It's especially important to stay out of trouble in the first turn here."

Atlantic points leader, Andrew Bordin (PPI Motorsports / Swift 008.a) will start fourth, while the series top rookie, Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports / Jayhard / BG Products, Swift 008.a) will start fifth.

Sunday's CART Toyota Atlantic activities begin with a 15-minute warm up at 8:30 am. The 32-lap, 67.392-mile race is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Martin Basso , Dan Gurney , Buddy Rice , Andrew Bordin , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing