The Finale - Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Houston, Texas FRIDAY AFTERNOON QUALIFYING SESSION: 1:00 p.m. Session starts under cloudy and humid conditions. 1:09 p.m.
The Finale - Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Houston, Texas
FRIDAY AFTERNOON QUALIFYING SESSION: 1:00 p.m. Session starts under cloudy and humid conditions. 1:09 p.m. #78 Rutledge pits to change shift cable...#6 Allers stops on course in turn 5. 1:14 p.m. BLACK FLAG stops session temporarily as #28 Sposato makes contact with the wall. 1:16 p.m. GREEN FLAG restarts session...#28 Sposato retires from session. 1:26 p.m. BLACK FLAG stops session temporarily as #16 Sielsky, #55 Ferstl and #91 Moran make contact in turn 8...#16 car is towed to pits...#91 Moran retires from session with suspension Problems. 1:36 p.m. GREEN FLAG restarts session...#78 Rutledge returns to track. 1:45 p.m. CHECKERED FLAG ends session as #25 Anthony Lazzaro takes the provisional pole position with the fast time of 1:08.533. #66 Alex Tagliani posts the second quickest time (1:08.881) and #24 Masaoki Nagashima rounds out the top three (1:09.921).
Driver Quotes Following Friday Afternoon Qualifying Session:
#25 Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI Racing/Swift 008.a) "The track is a bit smoother than I thought it would be. I want to commend the city of Houston and the event organizers for creating such a nice track. The circuit, the walls, the fencing is all up and in good shape. In qualifying, we had a bit of a brake problem, but the MCI team, as always, gave us a great car. We had a bad session in practice earlier today, but we were still third in that session. Getting a clean lap in qualifying is key. You have to have it. I hope 'Masa' (teammate Masaoki Nagashima) and I can hold or improve our positions."
#24 Masaoki Nagashima (PPI-Derek Daly Academy/MCI Racing/Swift 008.a) "In the beginning of qualifying, I was a little nervous. Then Nick Harvey (team manager) told me just to relax, and I started paying closer attention. I made a 1:08.9 on the last lap, so I feel pretty lucky. Anthony and I are going to try to start on the front row (following Saturday's qualifying)."
#3 Michael David (PDR Enterprises - Water Joe/Auto Desk/David Engineering/Swift 008.a) "The day didn't start well. I only ran one lap in the morning practice before we lost a rod in the motor that literally blew a two-and- one-half inch hole in the engine block. We had a little over two hours to replace the engine and the PDR team once again got the job done - and with time to spare. For all intents and purposes, qualifying for me was a combination of warming to the track and practice. It's too bad the reality was it counted as provisional qualifying. I had to take time to find and learn the proper drive lines during the first part of the session. Then I was able to build some speed to where we were feeling comfortable with the fresh motor and set-up. We have to make some gear adjustments to prepare for tomorrow's qualifying. I also have new computer data for the track to absorb, but I still think we have enough time before the race to become more competitive." (Jim Hyneman)
#16 Matt Sielsky (D & L Racing - LCI Int'l/Emerald Financial Group/Swift 008.a) "There was a back-marker and Rocky Moran Jr. coming around Turn 7. I was closing in on them pretty quickly. They spun and I had nowhere to go. It was either drive into them or into the wall. I wasn't really aiming for any of those, but I ended up hitting the wall pretty hard. It looks like we may have some tub damage, but we'll try and put it back together for the rest of the weekend."
#33 Lee Bentham (Player's Forsythe Racing Team - Player's/Indeck/Swift 008.a) "When I came out on fresh tires, I was caught in traffic and just couldn't get a fast lap in. I was not lucky because our Player's team gave me a fast car. There's still a lot in the car although it was loosening up a bit towards the end of the session. This is nothing the boys can't fix for tomorrow. (Francois Cartier)
#66 Alexandre Tagliani (Player's Forsythe Racing Team - Player's/Indeck/Swift 008.a) "I'm very happy with this session. We chose to make big changes on the setup between sessions, and came up with a really fast car. This is a short track (no long straightaways) and we can't count on drafting much, so we have to really work the turns. We have our work cut out for us here. And with this hot weather...it's going to be a fun weekend and I want to finish with a Player's win!" (Francois Cartier)
#14 Mike Conte (World Speed Motorsports - Microsoft/Compaq/Swift 008.a) "The car ran well but the track conditions were less than favorable. Between the track being slick and the caution/black flags, there wasn't much opportunity to put in fast, clean qualifying laps. The track should provide better conditions tomorrow for the second qualifying session." (Becky Gavigan)
#41 Nicolas Rondet (World Speed Motorsports - HBC/CompUSA/Swift 008.a) "I lost some valuable time due to the damage to my front wing. I didn't have the opportunity to put together a clean, fast lap. By the end of the session, I was trying too hard and by doing this, I ended up overdriving the car. In addition, the caution and black flags created less than optimum track conditions. I am looking forward to the second qualifying session tomorrow to better my time." (Becky Gavigan)