CHAMPCAR/CART: Dario Franchitti improves in qualifying at Portland

PORTLAND, OR., (June 24, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti will start from the second row for tomorrow's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. Franchitti has steadily improved his qualifying efforts this...

PORTLAND, OR., (June 24, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti will start from the second row for tomorrow's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. Franchitti has steadily improved his qualifying efforts this season, having started second in the last two races. Tomorrow, he'll start from the fourth position on the grid after turning a lap of 58.059 seconds, averaging 122.090 mph.

Helio Castroneves, who won last week in Detroit, earned the pole for the 112-lap race in record time. Castroneves broke Juan Montoya's track record with a flier of 57.738 seconds (122.768 mph), bettering the old mark by 0.455 seconds. Team Penske secured the first row with Gil de Ferran's qualifying run of 57.820 seconds (122.594 mph). Roberto Moreno will start on the inside of Franchitti in the second row, edging the TKG driver with a time of 57.977 seconds (122.090 mph).

Paul Tracy will once again need to make a charge from the back of the field, starting from 18th on the grid. Tracy turned his quickest lap of the weekend around the 1.969-mile road course in 59.472 seconds (119.189 mph). With improving track conditions and faster cars taking times, Tracy slid down the timesheets. Still, he has finished in the top-10 three times this season starting from as far back as the ninth row. He started 17th and finished 3rd at Homestead, started 17th and won at Long Beach and started 20th to finish 6th in Japan.

The 24-car field returns to the track for warm-up tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with the green flag for the race at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The event will be broadcast via tape delay on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(18th with a lap-time of 59.472 seconds / 119.189 mph)

"I'm trying to collect as many Budweiser Hard Charger Awards as I can (the award given to the driver for the biggest improvement from starting to finishing position in the race). We just can't get the car figured out for qualifying. We change everything on the car and nothing seems to make any difference. As a race car, the KOOL car is fine. I can drive at race pace all day long. The only consolation we have is that we have a lot of tires saved up. We have four sets for the race.

"We might need a different race strategy than the leaders to improve our track position. If the yellows fall our way and we have strong pit stops, I believe we will move up from the back like we have before. We need to, to protect the championship lead."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(4th with a lap-time of 58.059 seconds / 122.090 mph)

"The last two races we have done better in qualifying (qualified 2nd both times). But I haven't won a pole position, so I'm still not very happy. I pushed the car pretty hard there today. I was taking all the KOOL car would give me. I told the guys that I thought I could push a bit harder. Then I thought about it again. There's such a fine line between pushing too hard and getting to the absolute limit, especially with these track conditions. I realized that I got the best out of the car today. Now we're going to go back and work on it for tomorrow, hopefully coming back with something better."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti
Teams Team Penske