Vasser Scheduled to Make His 188th Consecutive Start From Ninth, Gonzalez 14th in Cleveland Final Qualifying CLEVELAND, Ohio. (July 2, 2004) -- After the dust settled on a gusty Cleveland afternoon at Burke Lakefront Airport, both PKV Racing ...
Vasser Scheduled to Make His 188th Consecutive Start From Ninth, Gonzalez 14th in Cleveland Final Qualifying
CLEVELAND, Ohio. (July 2, 2004) -- After the dust settled on a gusty Cleveland afternoon at Burke Lakefront Airport, both PKV Racing pilots had improved on their first round qualifying efforts, but the duo of 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will have to start ninth and 14th, respectively, in tomorrow's 23rd Annual U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, Round 5 of the Champ Car World Series.
Vasser, who is scheduled to make his 188th consecutive start this weekend (which is just shy of Al Unser Jr.'s mark of 192), had high hopes on the North Coast circuit he had tamed two previous times with pole-winning efforts in 1996 and '98, but the California native will start his 12th Cleveland race from the ninth spot after posting a best lap of 58.539 seconds (129.514 mph).
"Conditions were tough with the wind picking up and the gear ratio we had," said Vasser. "We thought we had a better car than that. We have been fast the whole weekend and to place ninth after that is very disappointing. We'll have to make the best out of it and see what we can do from here tomorrow afternoon."
Gonzalez was the first 750hp Lola to scream off pit lane in the session, looking to improve on a 16th place effort yesterday. The Mexican pilot was able to negotiate the 2.106-mile airport layout to the tune of 59.263 seconds (127.931 mph), earning him the 14th spot on the grid.
"I was hitting the rev limiter quite a bit in the high-speed section before the chicane," said Gonzalez. "That, and the fact that you are dealing with a headwind, makes the car pretty difficult to handle. So the drivability of the car was down due to the windy conditions, but traffic came into play as well. On my fastest lap at the end, I think we were up five tenths, but I got caught up behind a slower car and then the red/checkered came out. It's disappointing for sure. My PKV Racing team has a good car for me this weekend, so we'll have to make the best out of the qualifying effort."
Watch Vasser and Gonzalez Sunday afternoon on Spike TV (4:00 pm ET/PT, tape-delay) as they take on the rest of the Champ Car field in this Fourth of July weekend's 97-lap U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland.