FRANCHITTI ON THE FRONT ROW AND TRACY TO START FROM ROW TWO HOUSTON, Tex., (Oct. 3, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti will start second and Paul Tracy fourth in tomorrow's inaugural Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, enjoying the strongest...
FRANCHITTI ON THE FRONT ROW AND TRACY TO START FROM ROW TWO
HOUSTON, Tex., (Oct. 3, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti will start second and Paul Tracy fourth in tomorrow's inaugural Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, enjoying the strongest effort of any two-car team in today's qualifying.
Greg Moore won his fourth pole position, pulling even with Franchitti in poles won this season. Moore was only 0.062 seconds faster than Franchitti, as the Canadian turned a lap of 59.580 seconds, to average 92.377 mph. Franchitti, meanwhile, clocked a time of 59.570 (92.281 mph). Tomorrow's race will be Franchitti's eighth front row start, the most of any driver this season.
The difference between third and fourth was even less than the gap between first and second, as just 0.015 seconds separated Jimmy Vasser from Tracy in his KOOL car. Vasser was third fastest with a lap of 59.720 (92.050 mph), while Tracy's fast lap was 59.735 (92.026 mph). Today was Tracy's best qualifying effort of the season, since starting fifth in Cleveland.
Tomorrow's race on the 1.527-mile, 10-turn street circuit will be broadcast live on ABC-TV at 4:00 p.m. ET.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (2nd with a lap-time of 59.570 / 92.281 mph; 8th front row start this season)
"To be honest I'm not really happy to be second. I'd prefer to have the Team KOOL Green car on the pole again. But this track is very difficult to put a fast lap in on and it's important to be starting on the front row.
You're going to have to get everything right tomorrow. First, you've got to have a fast car, then you've got to have a good strategy, fast pit stops and manage your tires. But we've done it before. There's no reason we can't win this thing tomorrow."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (4th with a lap-time of 59.735 / 92.026 mph)
"The KOOL car was really good and I was able to bang out a fast lap at the beginning of the session. Then we made a couple of changes to the car trying to go faster and lost a little bit of the handling. Nonetheless, fourth is great. It's the best we've qualified all season. It looks like all the work the crew put into the car has paid off."
KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship - QUALIFYING
Canada's Alex Tagliani will start from the pole position in the season finale of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. On his last lap of qualifying, Tagliani posted a time of 1:07.979 on Houston's 1.527-mile street circuit.
Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., recorded a time of 1:08.533 to start alongside Tagliani on the front row. Brazilian Nicolas Rondet, in only his second Atlantic appearance, will start third with a time of 1:09.618. Series champion Lee Bentham of Toronto will start alongside Rondet on the second row.
KOOL-sponsored driver Matt Sielsky improved his time from yesterday, but not his position. Tenth in provisional qualifying, Sielsky slipped two spots to 12th with a lap of 1:09.361 (79.254 mph).
MATT SIELSKY, #16 LCI INTERNATIONAL SWIFT-TOYOTA: (12th with a lap-time of 1:09.361 / 79.254 mph)
"Missing the last half of the session yesterday (due to an accident) really hurt us. We're a little behind everybody else in terms of getting the car right. I'm braking later going into the corners and getting the power down quicker, but the car isn't as good over the bumps as it was yesterday. We definitely have our work cut out for us in tomorrow's race, but I'm a fighter and I expect to climb through the field."