Portland: Friday qualifying notes

Dalziel takes provisional pole for G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway; breaks track record for Toyota Atlantic cars. PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2003) - Scotland's Ryan Dalziel ( ...

Dalziel takes provisional pole for G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway; breaks track record for Toyota Atlantic cars.

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2003) - Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) posted a new track record in Friday's first round of qualifying and claimed the provisional pole for Saturday's G.I. Joe's 200 Toyota Atlantic event at Portland International Raceway (SPEED Channel, 1:00 p.m. ET, June 23).

Dalziel clocked a best lap of 1:06.677 (106.310 mph) to top the previous track record of 1:06.749 (106.195 mph) established by Dorricott Racing driver Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing) in 2002. The performance also enabled Dalziel to earn a championship point, which places him into a third place tie in the point standings with RuSPORT's Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT), and he is guaranteed a front row starting spot regardless of the outcome of Saturday morning's final qualifying session.

One week after missing the Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca due to an illness, Canada's Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) put himself in position to take his best starting spot of the season by qualifying second on the provisional grid at 1:06.932 (105.905 mph). Valiante's previous best start this season was fourth in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, a race that he would go on to win. If he is able to maintain his position or take over the pole position, it would be his best starting spot since he qualified second in the penultimate round of 2002 at Montreal.

Qualifying third on the provisional grid was Alex Figge (#69 Make-A-Wish Foundation) with a best lap of 1:07.183 (105.509 mph). The Californian was fastest in the morning practice session, and despite dropping back a few positions in qualifying, it was his second straight top-three qualifying performance. He also qualified second for last weekend's Grand Prix of Monterey.

Points leader A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) qualified fourth on the provisional grid with a best time of 1:07.588 (104.877 mph), and brought the 40-minute qualifying session to a premature end as he nosed his car into the tire barrier in Turn 4 with approximately three minutes remaining. He was not injured in the accident, but was stripped of his best lap due to the fact that he brought out the red flag.

DSTP Motorsports driver Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports/BG Products) filled out the top five on the time sheet after clocking a best lap of 1:07.818 (104.521 mph), and is looking for his second straight top-five qualifying performance. He started fourth last weekend in Monterey, before crashing on the opening lap of the race.

Defending G.I. Joe's 200 polesitter and champion Diaz was sixth after first round qualifying with a best lap of 1:07.890 (104.410 mph), while Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company)-who is tonight's guest on SPEED Channel's live "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" program-qualified seventh at 1:07.917 (104.369 mph). Canadian Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN Bearings), who is looking for his fifth straight top four finish and his first career Toyota Atlantic win this weekend, was eighth after first round qualifying at 1:07.988 (104.260 mph).

Allmendinger's RuSPORT teammate Justus turned in the ninth-quickest speed on Friday at 1:08.174 (103.975 mph), despite being second-quick in the morning practice session, while 17-year-old Kyle Krisiloff (#31 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One) completed the top 10 in provisional qualifying at 1:08.257 (103.849 mph).

Saturday's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship schedule calls for final qualifying from 9:05-9:45 a.m. PT, and Round 5 of the 12-race 2003 schedule, the G.I. Joe's 200, is slated to get the green flag at 4:00 p.m. PT. The race is scheduled for 35 laps, but is subject to a 50-minute time limit.

Television coverage of the G.I. Joe's 200 will be carried in the United States and Canada will be provided on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED Channel at 1:00 p.m. ET on Monday, June 23. Live Timing & Scoring information is also available for every 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship session on the series' official web site, www.toyotaatlantic.com.

Quotes from the day's top three qualifiers follow below:

* RYAN DALZIEL (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record): "I think for us, first of all, we had to get a competitive car. We struggled a lot this morning in the practice session, we were only ninth quickest. Although we were happy to see the rain, usually I go quite well in the rain, we actually wanted it to be dry just to find out where our balance was in the car. It was really important for us that we got some kind of dry running. Tomorrow's possibly going to be a quicker day, so we were over the moon with the way the car performed. Sierra Sierra Enterprises did a great job with the car. We went out in the wet, and we were the quickest in the wet, and then the track dried up and every lap we were quicker than anybody else. I can't say enough about the job we did. We had perfect timing and a perfect car today."

* MICHAEL VALIANTE (#19 Lynx Racing): "I've lost about six pounds just from missing the race last weekend because I was so ill. I'm about 85 percent now, better. The best thing is just being back in the car and being back with the team, rather than having to miss another race, so I'm really happy about that. We came in here this weekend and wanted to try something new in the first session, and we went back to what we knew in qualifying. It really worked well. Basically, it was just a timing thing. My car was just going faster and faster and faster. Finally, one worked out for me in qualifying, because this year in qualifying, I've never been able to get a clear lap, or something has happened."

* ALEX FIGGE (#69 Make-A-Wish Foundation): "The car was great. We made a lot of big improvements from testing, and right off the bat the car was really comfortable and we were able to go quick this morning. I think this afternoon was just a matter of timing. I came in, I think, a couple of laps late, and we had to make some adjustments, wet/dry, and when I came out, I didn't have enough time. I probably, in hindsight, I should have come into the pits a couple of laps earlier. But everybody's pushing hard, and it's a competitive series. I didn't expect to get any breaks."

NOTEWORTHY: * Pacific Coast Motorsports and driver Alex Figge have a special guest at the track this weekend as 15-year-old Mathew Steward of Madras, Ore. is joining the team for the weekend through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Mathew is suffering from cystic fibrosis, and his wish is to obtain parts for his race car. He started racing about one year ago, and approached local businesses in an effort to raise sponsorship dollars. After a businessman told him to come up with a business proposal, Mathew returned two days later with a letter and got sponsorship from the team. His race car is a SS Laguna Super Sport, which he got for his 15th birthday.

* Danica Patrick will be the featured guest on Friday's "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" program, which airs live at 11:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 20. Viewers interested in asking questions may submit them via e-mail to windtunnel@speedtv.com or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL during the broadcast.

* Former CART Toyota Atlantic Championship competitors Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jimmy Vasser qualified second and third, respectively in provisional qualifying for Sunday's G.I. Joe's 200 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event. Hunter-Reay, a Champ Car rookie in 2003, won three races in Toyota Atlantic last year, while Vasser is tied for 10th on the all-time Toyota Atlantic race winners list with eight career victories in the series.


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Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jimmy Vasser , Michael Valiante , Joey Hand , Jonathan Macri , Kyle Krisiloff , Luis Diaz , A.J. Allmendinger , Alex Figge , Aaron Justus , Danica Patrick