Brack leads Lola trio in time trials; will pace Andretti and da Matta to Sure for Men Rockingham 500. A year between visits to Corby, England's Rockingham Motor Speedway made little difference in top spot on the qualifying sheets, as Kenny Brack...
Brack leads Lola trio in time trials; will pace Andretti and da Matta to Sure for Men Rockingham 500.
A year between visits to Corby, England's Rockingham Motor Speedway made little difference in top spot on the qualifying sheets, as Kenny Brack earned pole position for Saturday's Sure for Men Rockingham 500 on the 1.479-mile oval. Brack's lap of 24.908 seconds (213.763mph) in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota bested Michael Andretti's tour of 24.928 seconds (213.591mph) in the #39 Team Motorola Lola/Honda by a scant .020 seconds. Point leader Cristiano da Matta took the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota for a 24.954-second (213.369mph) ride to take third on the grid. The 19-car field qualified within .708-seconds of one another in single car time trials.
"We've had a tough year so far," Brack admitted. "The car unloaded good this morning and we anticipated the ASCAR (stock car) rubber when we prepared for qualifying. It's nice to have time on the track this year and the surface certainly has more grip. I don't get involved in setup details, but the Target team has done a great job in anticipating my needs." Andretti, who qualified midway through the session (11th), gave credit to his team who provided him with "a good oval setup. We tweaked it here and there and I just closed my eyes," he said with a smile, "and held it wide open." For da Matta, "the car was comfortable right away. We were a bit too aggressive on the grip for qualifying so didn't have the speed to beat Kenny today."
Excellent track conditions contributed to the tight grid. Track temperatures ranged from 85-93, while air temps, under partly cloudy skies were between 70-73 degrees. Dario Franchitti will line up in 5th starting slot, driving his #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda to a lap of 25.001 seconds (212.967mph). "We unloaded well and we're comfortable in traffic, or as comfortable as you can get," he remarked. Bruno Junqueira, winner of the Shell Grand Prix of Denver was disappointed to take 6th in the #4 Target Lola/Toyota, at 25.003 seconds (212.950mph). "The car is good and I don't know why I'm not faster." Paul Tracy, not happy with his oversteering #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda, nonetheless lines up 7th with a lap of 25.034 seconds (212.687mph). Tony Kanaan is the final Lola driver, of seven, in the top ten, earning 8th starting slot for the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda with a lap of 25.048 seconds (212.568mph). "The track is much smoother this year -- and dryer -- and I've got a consistent car for the race," Kanaan said. He owns the fastest Champ Car practice speed turned at this venue, at 24.719 seconds (215.397mph).
Saturday's 211-lap race takes the green flags at 1:30pm local time and is being shown live on Speed at 8:30am EDT.