Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 qualifying rained-out; Dalziel takes second pole position in CART Toyota Atlantic Championship competition. WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 30, 2003) - Despite the best efforts of CART Toyota Atlantic Championship officials,...
Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 qualifying rained-out; Dalziel takes second pole position in CART Toyota Atlantic Championship competition.
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 30, 2003) - Despite the best efforts of CART Toyota Atlantic Championship officials, which included moving the start time of qualifying up 15 minutes, qualifying for Saturday's Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite was rained-out after eight cars made qualifying attempts.
As a result, the starting grid was established based on combined practice speeds, giving Sierra Sierra Enterprises' second-year driver Ryan Dalziel (#28 Discovery Lake/Daily Record Newspaper) his second career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship pole position. Dalziel posted the fastest practice lap of the weekend at 149.571 mph (24.839 seconds), which gave the Scot his first pole since taking the top starting spot in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season finale at Denver. However, while Dalziel will be credited with the pole, he will not receive a championship point due to the fact that the qualifying session was not completed.
Starting alongside Dalziel on the front row will be Canadian Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN), who turned in a best practice lap of 149.193 mph (24.902 seconds). The performance allowed Macri to match his career best starting position, which he established by starting second in 2002 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both Macri and Dalziel enter Saturday's race still looking for their first career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race victory.
One driver who already has a career victory under his belt starts in the third position, as Long Beach winner A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) posted a best lap of 148.584 mph (25.036 sec.). The rookie will now start inside the top-three for the third time in three career Toyota Atlantic starts, a run that included his first career pole at Long Beach. Allmendinger also won at Long Beach, and enters Saturday's race looking to become the first driver since Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsport/BG Products)-who won two-in-a-row at Vancouver and Houston in 2001-to win back-to-back events.
Starting a career-best fourth on the grid will be Dorricott Racing second-year pilot Kyle Krisiloff (#31 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One). In his first ever Toyota Atlantic appearance on an oval, Krisiloff posted a best practice lap of 148.394 mph (25.036 seconds), eclipsing his previous best starting position (12th) by eight starts. This will also be Krisiloff's first career start with Dorricott Racing, which won the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title.
Rounding out the top five on the grid will be 2001 Toyota Atlantic champion Hoover Orsi (#7 Pro-Works), who won the race at The Milwaukee Mile en route to the '01 title. Orsi, making his first Toyota Atlantic start since the end of the 2001 season, posted the fifth quickest time in practice at 148.371 mph (25.040 seconds). The Brazilian's performance combined with Dalziel's pole position marks the first time ever that Sierra Sierra Enterprises has had two cars starting inside the top five.
RuSPORT's Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) starts sixth after a best practice lap of 147.933 mph (25.114 sec.), followed by Team Rahal rookie Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) at 147.875 mph (25.124 sec.). Points leader Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) starts eighth at 147.317 mph (25.219 sec.), followed by Mexico's Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing) in ninth at 147.282 mph (25.225 sec.), and Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports-Wine Country Motorsports) in 10th at 147.195 mph (25.240 sec.). The entire field in tomorrow's race turned practice laps within one second of each other.
Saturday's schedule calls for a 15-minute warm-up session beginning at 12:45 p.m. locally, and will be followed by the third round of the 12-race 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite at 5:00 p.m. CT. The race is scheduled to last 70 laps (72.240 miles), or 50 minutes, whichever comes first.
Quotes from the top three drivers on the starting grid follow below:
* RYAN DALZIEL (#28 Discovery Lake/Daily Record Newspaper): "I think it's safe to say that the three guys sitting up here have pretty much been the three quickest guys all weekend. We have had a car that's been in the top three every session. We've gradually made some little changes to it, but Sierra Sierra gave me a car that rolled onto the track and it was the quickest car there. I felt that we were very safe in the first day. Then this morning, we knew that there was going to be a chance of rain, so for the last part of the session, we kind of did what we had to do to make sure that the car was going to be as quick as it could, and try to get the best lap time. I think in this morning's practice, we had quite a fair advantage over the next cars. Yes, it's a dream come true. Unfortunately, I think, I'm a little bit disappointed. I would have liked to have a chance to qualify and have a legit pole, but I honestly believe that the car has been the quickest car all weekend. I can't say enough about the team. They gave me a car that was pretty easy to drive. The car's easy and all you do is turn left, and that's pretty much all I've done. All the credit goes to them."
* JONATHAN MACRI (#84 NTN): "Starting off today, we actually thought we weren't going to get it dry at all, even this morning. We did make a few changes on the car overnight, just trying to try a few little different things. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well for us in the practice, but we were still quick with some times. We kind of turned things around to where we're closer to yesterday for the qualifier and see where we ended up there. But a front row start, that's extremely good. I think I've just got to kind of keep in clean on that first lap and see how it goes from there. It's a little disappointing. We were kind of looking forward to qualifying. We had a chance to go for the pole. I think it's quite the advantage here starting on the pole position, just to get out front of everyone and not worry about the draft or anything. We'll have to see how that goes tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll have good warm-up and get the car where I like and have a good race."
* A.J. ALLMENDINGER (#4 RuSPORT): "In my mind, I was actually on pole when I was there sitting in the car. I made my lap already, thinking about. Personally I don't know about you guys, but I should get pole, what do you think? (laughter) It was like a 24.7 (second lap). Obviously, I would have liked to have went out and qualified. I think we had a car to do it. We made some good changes during the practice session, and I felt after debriefing that we were going to have a good car for qualifying. At the same point, I'm starting top-three. It's always good in this series, because it's so competitive. That's one great thing in this series is how competitive it is. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race. Hopefully, we get a warm-up in if the weather's cleared up tomorrow. From there, hopefully we'll get to try the changes that we made that we were going to use for qualifying. I know RuSPORT's given me a good car, and we're going to be in the race. It's a matter of just keeping the nose clean early on and being there at the end."