PROVISIONAL POLE: Gil de Ferran 58.586 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...
PROVISIONAL POLE: Gil de Ferran 58.586
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth Lola
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING POSITION: 2nd (58.813)
"I'm pretty happy with the car but I made a mistake on the last lap or could have possibly gone quicker. I'm pretty sure we have a shot at the pole. I would love to have pole but I would easily trade it for a win on Sunday. We will keep working to make the Big Kmart/Route 66 car better and go for it tomorrow. The car is much better than it was in Detroit. The track conditions were difficult but it was the same for everyone. The track got better as the session went on. The car ran solid all day, which shows in our results. I think there will be more speed tomorrow. Three are at least six or seven drivers that have a shot at it (pole) tomorrow. I hope we will come out on top and win the pole. We are pretty confident that we have a shot at it."
NOTE: Fittipaldi's highest Portland start of third place came in 1997 on his return to racing from an accident in the second event of the season (Australia) when he was hit from behind by Gil de Ferran and drove head-on into the concrete barriers at 190 mph. He suffered a broken right leg (tibia and fibula) as well as his left foot. He ran in second place before he was passed on the last lap by two cars that were equipped with faster "slick" tires on the drying course. He finished fourth. His highest finish in Portland is third place in 1996.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING POSITION: 4th (59.041) "The car wasn't too bad. Unfortunately on my second set of tires I only got one good lap in and ran into traffic after that. It was slippery out there with the different rubber on the track but it got better toward the end of the session. It was definitely an advantage to be in the fast group today. On a road course, how the car handles is very important. Horsepower is always good as well but the handling of the car is key. Overall, I am pretty happy with the progress of the first day. The Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline team worked hard to get to this point and be a contender for the win. Overall we have run well in Portland over the years but have not won since 1992 for a variety of reasons. Last year we ran the fastest lap but had the car shut off while we were trying to leave the pits after a stop. We were taken out of the race on the first lap in 1998 (Moore). We ran as high as fourth place in 1997 but finished eighth. We had a problem in 1996 and dropped to 28th place and had to fight back up to 11. Overall, we were competitive but just didn't managed to finish well here. It would be nice to get back into victory circle this weekend."
NOTE: Andretti has won three in Portland ('90, '91, '92) and has started on the front row three times (started 2nd in '86, '90, '92). Of his 39 victories, 25 have come on a road/street course. This will be his 16th start at Portland. Has led in seven of his 15 Portland races. Set the fastest race lap in the '99 event before his engine cut out while exiting his pit and he finished 10th.