CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Qualifying - KOOL Notes

FRANCHITTI STARTS SECOND AND TRACY FIFTH IN CLEVELAND CLEVELAND, Oh., (July 11, 1998) - Team KOOL Green enjoyed its best qualifying effort of the season, as Dario Franchitti earned the second position on the grid, while Paul Tracy will start...

FRANCHITTI STARTS SECOND AND TRACY FIFTH IN CLEVELAND

CLEVELAND, Oh., (July 11, 1998) - Team KOOL Green enjoyed its best qualifying effort of the season, as Dario Franchitti earned the second position on the grid, while Paul Tracy will start fifth when the green flag falls for the Cleveland Grand Prix at 12: 30 p.m. ET.

Winning his second pole of the season (Japan), Jimmy Vasser will start on the inside of Franchitti. He did not improve upon his lap of 56.417 seconds (134.385 mph) from yesterday's provisional qualifying. Franchitti came closest to unseating Vasser with a time of 56.635 seconds (133.868 mph), only 0.208 seconds off the pole. Vasser's teammate Alex Zanardi will start from the third spot, after clocking a lap of 56.724 seconds (133.658 mph). Bryan Herta will line-up next to Zanardi, qualifying in 56.767 seconds (133.556 mph). Herta edged out Tracy on his final lap, who turned a lap of 56.853 seconds (133.354 mph).

Today's qualifying marks the best combined starting positions for Tracy and Franchitti. Team KOOL Green's previous best qualifying was at Long Beach, where Tracy started 9th and Franchitti was 8th. Tomorrow's race is also Franchitti's second consecutive start from the front row, having qualified second at the last race in Portland.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (2nd with a lap-time of 56.636 seconds at 133.868 mph)

"It's great to be second, but I'd really like to be on the pole. If we'd have done it (a fast lap) a lap earlier, we would have been all right. But, I put a wheel off in Turn 1 and had to back off. Then the tires weren't at their best on my fast lap.

"The race is going to be a different story. We'll have to look after tires, plan our fuel strategy and be running fast. It's going to be a quick race. Once again it's a balancing act - going fast, but conserving tires and fuel.

"This morning we didn't run many laps because we were concerned with tire wear. We didn't want to use any of our tires we'd allocated for the race. We just used some high-milage tires and worked on balance and keeping the car consistent and getting the car to work over a longer run. I think we finished with a half-hour to go this morning, so I didn't really do a full day's work.

"In qualifying here you've just got to go for it over the bumps; just hang onto the thing and carry as much speed as you can. I didn't find too much difference between today and yesterday. I think we improved the car over the bumps a lot and that's whe re the speed came from."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (5th with a lap-time of 57.853 seconds at 133.354 mph)

"I'm pretty happy with how we qualified because it's our best effort on a road course in a long while. I'm pleased, but I'm disappointed since I felt there was more in the car and also because of the attitude of some drivers who block on purpose. I thou ght we were capable of being in the top three. It really would have taken only another tenth or so to do that. But, everybody on the team is pleased with two cars in the top five.

"The car is good because I was able to run good times on old tires in the morning practice. I feel good about the race setup and we have two good sets of tires for tomorrow's race, so we'll see how it goes. Looking ahead, I'm also happy because we will have good pick for the pits in Toronto, which is important because of the tricky curve heading into pit lane."

QUALIFYING FOR THE PPG-DAYTON INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP: Brazil's Luiz Garcia Jr. set a new track record with a lap of 1:05.010 seconds at 116.622 mph to win the pole position for tomorrow's race starting at 3:00 p.m. ET. Spanish driver Oriol Servia will start beside Garcia, clocking the second fastest time at 1:05.466 seconds (115.810 mph).

Brazilians Cristiano da Matta and Sergio Paese will share row two, while Team KOOL Green's Naoki Hattori starts from the fifth position. He turned a quick lap of 1:05.804 seconds at 115.215 mph late in today's qualifying session. Naoki Hattori, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola: (5th with a lap-time of 1:05.804 seconds at 115.215 mph)

"We put on a new set of tires near the end of the session, but I still had understeer. As the tire temperatures got hotter, the grip got better. But for the next four laps I had traffic and couldn't get a clear lap. Then on my last lap, it cleared up a nd I set my fastest time. Tomorrow's race will be very difficult. There are many good competitors. I need to concentrate on having a good race and score some points."

FINAL QUALIFYING FOR ROUND 5 OF THE BARBER DODGE PRO SERIES: Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney was half a second faster than yesterday's first qualifying session and is hopeful of having a good starting position for tomorrow's race 9:45 a.m. Unfortunately, technical problems continue today and no timing and scoring information was available.

ALEX GURNEY, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN (BARBER DODGE PRO SERIES):

"We've improved yesterday's loose condition, but only just a little. I think a lot of guys are fighting the same problem. I'm glad we have a warm up tomorrow and can try to make some more gains on it. I at least got one decent lap in there and was half a second faster than yesterday."

KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP RACE:

Canada's Kenny Wilden won today's 22-lap race, crossing the finish line 2.527 seconds ahead of runner-up Anthony Lazzaro and Buddy Rice in third. KOOL-sponsored driver Matt Sielsky won the KOOL Move of the Race award for moving through the field from th e 20th position on the grid to finish 10th. MATT SIELSKY, #16 LCI INTERNATIONAL SWIFT-TOYOTA:

"In most cases if you pass 10 people in a race you feel pretty good. But I ended up 10th, so I'm a bit disappointed. We made some spring changes to the car before the race, but I think it turned out to be the shocks. We just didn't nail the combination right today. But we got some points (six), and a few of the points leaders didn't finish the race, so we're definitely still in it with several more races to go. We'll do the best we can to be up on the podium next week in Toronto."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Anthony Lazzaro , Buddy Rice , Naoki Hattori , Cristiano da Matta