POLE: Helio Castroneves 57.738 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...
POLE: Helio Castroneves 57.738
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth Lola
QUALIFYING POSITION: 6th (58.115)
Fittipaldi improved seven-tenths of a second from his second-place provisional qualifying on Friday but dropped to sixth fastest in final qualifying.
"We didn't have a good balance in the Big Kmart/Route 66 car. You couldn't push it to the limit without it getting out from under you. We made a major change this morning that didn't work out so we went back to our set-up from yesterday. It didn't work as good today. I said that I didn't mind trading a pole for a win on Sunday so I hope that is where we are headed. I would love to win a race in Portland. I have had some good racing memories of this place and would love to win because of that and the other obvious reasons."
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. In his racing comeback, 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 while the previous race leaders were on rain tires. He finished fourth. His highest finish in Portland is third place in 1996.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola
QUALIFYING POSITION: 11th (58.619) "I was sliding all over the place. I didn't have any grip. The track was fine because other guys managed to go quick. It's disappointing because we haven't been able to qualify well for a while. I thought we were on to something but it didn't materialize. Winning is so much about track position these days and ours isn't so good here. I would love to have a good finish here in Portland for the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline team and have this be a starting point to start collecting big points from here on out. The DNF's have really hurt us this season."
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.