FRANCHITTI WINS THIRD POLE OF THE SEASON LEXINGTON, Oh., (Aug. 8, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his third pole position of the season, setting a new track record with a lap of 1:05.679 seconds at 123.766 mph on the 2.258-mile ...
FRANCHITTI WINS THIRD POLE OF THE SEASON
LEXINGTON, Oh., (Aug. 8, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his third pole position of the season, setting a new track record with a lap of 1:05.679 seconds at 123.766 mph on the 2.258-mile permanent road course at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Cour se.
Bryan Herta held the provisional pole until the closing moments of qualifying when Franchitti snatched the pole away with successive quick laps. Herta's quick lap of 1:05.863 seconds (123.420 mph) had stood up for much of the session, but it would eventu ally only be good enough for third fastest. With less than four minutes remaining, Franchitti zipped around the track in 1:05.702 seconds (123.722 mph). He then went even quicker on his final lap (1:05.679 seconds / 123.766 mph) to win the pole.
Franchitti's third pole of the season (Brazil, Toronto) also translates into the fourth time that he will start from the front row in the last five races. Jimmy Vasser will lineup beside Franchitti after qualifying second with a lap of 1:05.834 seconds a t 123.474 mph. Herta and Mauricio Gugelmin will share the second row.
Meanwhile, Paul Tracy and his crew were unable to cure an ill-handling car, qualifying 22nd on the grid with a time of 1:07.412 seconds at 120.584 mph. Tracy's track time was limited because of two separate red flags in the 30-minute session involving Al ex Zanardi and P.J. Jones. He completed just six laps in his KOOL-Reynard Honda because of the red flags and his handling problems.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (1st with a lap-time of 1:05.679 seconds at 123.786 mph)
"We knew the lap was there.. The Team KOOL Green guys have been working really hard all weekend. It was just a matter of putting it all together on one lap. It's a very difficult track where the car is good in some corners and not so good in others. B ut we did it. Now we've just got to get ready for the race tomorrow. It's a different setup for the race.
"We fixed our brake problem. We spent a lot of time at Elkhart Lake testing the brakes and working on the problem we had in Toronto. The money (pole award) is still up for grabs, but I've talked to all the guys and we just want to get that first victory , then a second."
BARRY GREEN on DARIO FRANCHITTI winning the pole:
"A brilliant effort. I was very impressed with the laps he put together this morning on full tanks. That made me feel good about the chances of Dario improving his position in qualifying. He did two fast laps. He got the pole with the first but then w ent quicker, backing it up with an even faster lap.
"He said to me just before he left the pits on his last run 'I think we're looking good'. Anytime Dario Franchitti says that you can be sure he's pretty confident. He did a great job."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (21st with a lap-time of 1:07.412 seconds at 120.584 mph)
"The setups on these cars are very delicate and the comfort zone is very narrow. And we never got comfortable. Basically, I've been battling an understeer problem all weekend."
BARRY GREEN on PAUL TRACY'S qualifying effort:
"Paul's got a lot of work to do tomorrow. If I've got to start from the 21st position, the one driver I'd like to have in my car is Paul Tracy. I'm a little confused about Paul's situation. To be first and 21st is a little confusing. But we got off on the wrong foot at the start of the weekend and dug ourselves a hole as a group and never recovered as a group."
KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship - Qualifying
MATT SIELSKY, #16 LCI INTERNATIONAL SWIFT-TOYOTA: (6th with a lap-time of 1:18.166 seconds at 103.99 mph)
"It was a good session, but I think we could have been second. I went out on new tires and put in a good lap. Then with about one minute to go I backed off and made sure I had a clear track. Then I just focused on making one lap with no mistakes. The lap was going great, but just as I was coming into the last turn a slower car coming into the pits and it held me up. It certainly would have been my best lap.
"I know the car is good. The crew has done a great job getting the car right for this weekend. We'll see if we can show it tomorrow."
Barber Dodge Pro Series - Qualifying:
ALEX GURNEY, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD-DODGE (8th with a lap-time of 1:24.782 seconds at 95.879 mph)
"We're in good shape. We're only 3/10ths off the pole, so there's not much left in the car. I might have qualified a little better, but I got held up in turn 13 on a fast lap in the first qualifying session. That was a little bit frustrating. We still have the warm-up to try a few things."