LEXINGTON, Oh., (Aug. 13, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti sits on the provisional pole following the first day of qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Franchitti eclipsed his own track record set in...
LEXINGTON, Oh., (Aug. 13, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti sits on the provisional pole following the first day of qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Franchitti eclipsed his own track record set in winning last year's pole position in the process. Paul Tracy, meanwhile, was third fastest in his #26 KOOL Honda-Reynard.
Franchitti bettered his old mark at Mid-Ohio by 0.332 seconds, pacing his way around the 2.258-mile road course in 1:05.347 seconds at an average of 124.394 mph. Bryan Herta was second quick with a time of 1:05.824 seconds (123.493 mph); four-tenths slower (0.477 seconds) than Franchitti. Tracy's quick lap came with one flat-spotted tire, running to a time of 1:05.908 seconds (123.336 mph).
Tomorrow's schedule has the 26-car field back on track for final practice at 9:00 a.m. ET, with qualifying beginning at 12:45 p.m. Sunday's race will be broadcast on ESPN at 3:30 p.m., one-hour tape delay.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (3rd with a lap-time of 1:05.908 seconds / 123.366 mph)
"We didn't have a good test when we were here in July, so we were not expecting to be going this well. It was a pretty good session. The KOOL car felt good, but I made a mistake when I locked up the tires and flat-spotted one of the tires on my quick lap. That kind of hurt us for a half of the lap. At the beginning of the session, I went out quick to try to get a clear lap because I thought it was going to rain. It stopped sprinkling and a couple of guys crashed bringing out another red flag. Then it was a mad dash in the last five minutes. I feel pretty good about the car. I just didn't get the most out of it today. We'll just keep working on the car for tomorrow because I think that tomorrow's session will be faster than today."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (1st with a lap-time of 1:05.347 seconds / 124.394 mph)
"I was just trying to get a reasonable lap in because of the crash we had on Friday in Detroit, which put us in the slow session for final qualifying last week. Today, I was just trying to get a clear lap. It's only provisional, but it's nice to have that kind of gap (.477 seconds ahead of Bryan Herta). Again, tomorrow we'll fine-tune the car. We're not completely happy with it. The Team KOOL Green guys have done a good job, but we still have a bit of work to do. It's just one of those tracks where you're not going to have the car perfect for every corner. You have to hustle the car through certain parts of the course. It's a difficult track. It's not that physical, but it's difficult to set the car up right."
On the importance of scoring points this weekend to maintain the championship lead: "I think this weekend is as important as any other weekend. Every race you have to look at it as one we have to win. There's none we can be weak on. We need to be strong at every single race. This is a good start."
KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship - PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING
Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney was ninth in provisional qualifying today in preparation for Sunday's 30-lap KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race. Gurney sped to a time of 1:18. 670 seconds (103.32 mph) around the 2.258-mile road course at Mid-Ohio.
Gurney is chasing Kenny Wilden, who holds the provisional pole with a time of 1:17.474 seconds (104.92 mph). Andrew Bordin and Anthony Lazzaro are Wilden's closest competitors at the moment. Bordin was second quick with a time of 1:17.993 seconds (104.22 mph), while Lazzaro was next with a time of 1:18.129 (104.44 mph).
Tomorrow's final 30-minute qualifying session will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET.
ALEX GURNEY, #27 Team KOOL Green Toyota/Swift: (9th with a lap-time of 1:18.670 seconds / 103.32 mph)
"I'm glad we got that last lap in. I don't think I've ever had a session where I've had so much traffic. I would try to get a gap and another guy would come up on me from behind. Thankfully, I got one decent lap in at the end. We're still a ways off with the setup of the KOOL car. If we can dial it in, we'll be okay. I'm doing some pretty big slides through Turn 1 right now. Earlier in the session, it was the slower corners that I was having trouble with. We fixed that, but now we've made it a lot scarier in the faster corners. Somewhere in between there's a happy medium."