CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Team Kool Green Saturday qualifying report

Lack of grip stymies Team Kool Green. DENVER, Colorado - If you were to ask anyone at Team KOOL Green what their biggest challenge is at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver this weekend, they'd be sure to point out the team's inability to keep ...

Lack of grip stymies Team Kool Green.

DENVER, Colorado - If you were to ask anyone at Team KOOL Green what their biggest challenge is at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver this weekend, they'd be sure to point out the team's inability to keep their Honda-Lola-Bridgestone's glued to the racetrack for more than the briefest of periods. And while the slippery, bumpy 1.65-mile temporary street course has been a hostile place for drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for the past two days, the duo did improve their lap times over Friday's opening qualifying period and may have enough left on the table for TKG engineers to devise a way to move the duo up through the pack during tomorrow's 100-lap race.

Both Franchitti and Tracy struggled during the final qualifying period before managing to claim the fourteenth and fifteenth spots on tomorrow's starting grid. Franchitti posted a best lap of 1:02.601 seconds (94.714 mph) while Tracy earned a best lap of 1:02.706 seconds (94.525 mph). The performance was disappointing to both drivers who have earned fifteen street course wins between them.

Grip appeared to be less of an issue for Bruno Junqueira, who earned a championship point after posting the best time of the day and claimed his second pole position of the 2002 race season. The Brazilian driver posted a lap of 1:01.703 seconds (96.093 mph). Adrian Fernandez, who earned the quickest time in provisional qualifying, will line up second after being guaranteed a front row start on Friday. Shinji Nakano, who was second quickest in the final qualifying period, will start third in tomorrow's race.

Tomorrow's CART FedEx Champ Car schedule starts off with warm-up at 9:00 a.m. Mountain Time and will be followed by the Shell Grand Prix of Denver at 1:00 p.m. Speed Channel will carry the race live starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"It's a disaster. We can't settle the KOOL car down and we just don't know what we're doing wrong. None of the three of us (Franchitti, Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti) can seem to make any headway. We've all tried to differ our driving styles and still we're no further ahead. It's a puzzle that we have to solve immediately."

Morning Practice
Position: 17th
Speed: 94.029 mph
Time: 1:03.057 seconds

Qualifying
Position: 14th
Speed: 97.714 mph
Time: 1:02.601 seconds

Allen McDonald, Chief Engineer:

"It's been a tough weekend for us so far. We've made quite a number of changes but haven't quite figured out how to get around the track quickly. It's a challenging track, there's lots of bumps and very low grip. We're going to be working hard tonight; we'll make some changes and see. It's going to be a long race tomorrow and we're going to have to work hard to score some points."

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I think the track is really a challenge for everyone, but we just don't have the car to handle it. All three of us (Tracy, Dario Franchitti and Michael Andretti) are right together time-wise, so it's evident we don't have a handle on things at the moment. Some guys are just a little bit better than others, but here a little goes a long way. I could barely get around the track without hitting the wall, I felt like I was going to at any moment. We've got to get this thing sorted out in a hurry if we want to put the Team KOOL Green car anywhere in the points tomorrow."

Morning Practice
Position: 10th
Speed 95.337 mph
Time: 1:02.192 seconds

Qualifying
Position: 15th
Speed: 94.525 mph
Time: 1:02.726 seconds

Steve Challis, Chief Engineer

"We didn't do a very good job at all I'm afraid. We have no grip and we're trying to get to the bottom of it, but so far we haven't been able to solve it. We'll be looking at all the data tonight and hopefully we'll make the car better tomorrow. I think that we had our best success so far in this morning's practice session. We were top five for quite a while, until Paul went into the tire wall. At the time we didn't think the car was very good, but in retrospect, I think that it was the best set-up we've had so far. I think we'll be heading back that way and just tweak it a bit in tomorrow's warm-up."

-tkg-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Shinji Nakano