MONTEREY, Calif. (October 12, 2001) -- 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) took his first step towards a season high sixth win during first round qualifying at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca.
MONTEREY, Calif. (October 12, 2001) -- 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) took his first step towards a season high sixth win during first round qualifying at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Orsi toured the 2.238-mile course in Monterey, California in 1:19.610 seconds (101.203 mph) to take the provisional pole for Saturday afternoon's 30-lap, Atlantic season finale.
"I was trying harder and harder and it was tough to get a space in the track to get some clear laps," said Brazil's Orsi. "I opened up a big gap with a couple of laps to go to try and have some fast laps and I was able to put a really good one together. I think we made some improvements, but we're going to be talking about what we can do to go faster. This weekend is the first time my dad has come to America to watch me race so I hope I can do a good job and put on a good show for him."
Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift), who is trying to overtake David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) for second place in the Championship, was second quickest with a time of 1:19.741 seconds (101.037 mph). Hand nailed down the CART Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year title last week in Houston and now only trails Rutledge by 15-points heading into tomorrow's 3:15 p.m. PST race. Rutledge was fourth quickest with a time of 1:20.069 seconds (100.623 mph).
"The car just came to life hard," said California native, Joey Hand. "I got a clear run in clean air and put down a flyer, but a fast lap in the middle of the session just isn't going to hang on in this series. We came in to make a small change, but it didn't work in our favor. We'll be back tomorrow and give it another shot."
This morning's fastest practice time was turned in by Rocky Moran Jr. (Cobb Racing Swift), but Moran Jr. dropped to third in qualifying this afternoon with a time of 1:19.997 seconds (100.714 mph), over three tenths slower than his time earlier today. "It was all right," said Moran, another home state driver. "I had a lot of traffic, so I didn't get many clean laps. I really wanted the provisional pole and I'm going to try and go for it tomorrow morning. The car is good and I think we have a good shot at it. I love Laguna. It's my hometown track and I've got all my friends and family here so I want to do a good job and stick it on the pole tomorrow. So hopefully, we'll get good conditions in the morning."
Tony Ave (P-1 Racing Miller Genuine Draft Swift) rounded out the top five with a time of 1:20.102 seconds (100.582 mph). The 30-minute session ran the full time under green flag conditions.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will return to track on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. PST for their final qualifying session of the year. Orsi and the rest of the 2001 field will try and break Alex Barron's 1997 track qualifying record of 1:18.755 seconds (102.302 mph).