NEWTON'S LAWS OF CONCRETE Part 1: Provisional Qualifying On a day that started with the morning practice session reduced from a scheduled 30 minutes to a mere eight minutes because of an organizational snafu, Lynx Racing drivers...
NEWTON'S LAWS OF CONCRETE
Part 1: Provisional Qualifying
On a day that started with the morning practice session reduced from a scheduled 30 minutes to a mere eight minutes because of an organizational snafu, Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Mike Conte completed preliminary qualifying in 4th and 16th positions, respectively, for the CART Toyota Atlantic support race at this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. A second qualifying session is scheduled for 8:55 a.m. Saturday morning to set the final starting grid for the race, scheduled to take the green flag at 3:15 p.m. "The team has made a lot of progress since the first race of the season at Homestead," said Rutledge. "The car was very easy to drive, and was good everywhere, but there are still a few refinements to be made after we look at the data that should move up even further up the grid in final qualifying. I'm really happy with the direction we're headed with the car, and I'm feeling good about my chances in the race." Conte suffered a cooling system problem on the opening lap of the qualifying session when a clamp that holds a water hose to its fitting failed. He was black flagged for spraying fluid on the track, and was in and out of the pits several times during the remainder of the session while the Lynx crew worked to diagnose and correct the problem. "It was one of those mechanical things that never happen, yet it happened this time," said Conte. "The guys worked hard and smart to find and correct the problem, but coming into the pits several times kept me from getting a good lap. The car actually wasn't bad, aside from the leak, and they're changing the motor overnight as a precaution, so we'll be ready to move up the starting order in final qualifying on Saturday morning." Dan Wheldon of England earned the provisional pole with atime of 1:20.091 around the 1.98-mile street circuit. Wheldon's teammate, Andrew Bordin of Canada, was second fastest at 1:20.164. Buddy Rice of Phoenix, Ariz. was third fastest at 1:20.668. Interestingly enough, Wheldon and Bordin were part of a promotional event for the race that took place on the circuit several weeks ago, and were the recipients of a gift beyond price on a street circuit where practice time is severely limited -- four full-speed on-track sessions performed for the media, but also generating valuable setup data. "It's something all the other teams would rather hadn't happened," said Rutledge. "And failing that, they'd all like to have been one of the two teams. It gives them a tremendous advantage, as can be seen from the lap times in preliminary qualifying, but we feel that we'll be able to close the gap in final qualifying and during the race."