DENVER, Co. Â (August 31, 2002)-- It was a disappointing day for Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti. Â After having qualified on the pole in his last visit to Denver (1991), Andretti won't have the same luxury this year after qualifying...
DENVER, Co. (August 31, 2002)-- It was a disappointing day for Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti. After having qualified on the pole in his last visit to Denver (1991), Andretti won't have the same luxury this year after qualifying 17th today. "It's just disappointing all the way around," said Andretti. "We've been trying a lot of things but it seems like we're just not finding what we need." In today's qualifying session Andretti continued with yesterday's strategy of going out early to ensure a clear track. Although the track was clear, he was still searching for speed to get around the 1.65-mile street course. "This track is pretty tricky," said general manager Kim Green. "It's slick in spots, then bumpy in spots and we just haven't found what we need to make the car fast and comfortable. But we've got one more session to try to get it sorted before the race."
Andretti has had previous success on the streets of Denver. In the inaugural event in 1990 he started third and finished fifth while in 1991, he started from the pole and came from a lap down to finish third. "In 1991 I was able to come from a lap down and finish on the podium," said Andretti. "But I think the competition is so much closer that I probably won't be that lucky tomorrow. But I do think attrition will play a major factor in tomorrow's outcome so that might work in our favor."
Bruno Junqueira captured today's pole with a time of 61.703 seconds. Adrian Fernandez will line up second based on his provisional pole from yesterday with a time of 62.073 while Shinji Nakano rounds out the top three starters with a time of 61.803 seconds. Michael's technical partners, Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy, qualified 14th and 15th respectively with times of 63.619 seconds and 63.632 seconds. Team Motorola will resume practice tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with the 100-lap race, airing live on SpeedChannel, set to begin at 1:00 p.m. MT.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone "We tried a pretty radical change on our set-up after the morning session and it just wasn't what we needed. It seems like a lot of things we think might work, aren't working and it's frustrating for everyone on Team Motorola. We need to look at our data tonight and look at some other information from tracks that are similar to this one and see if we can find what we need to get the car more comfortable and just improve the race car overall. I think this race is going to be very physically demanding and I certainly think that attrition is going to be a factor in the race outcome tomorrow." <pre> Saturday Practice Provisional Qualifying Final Qualifying Position 13th Position 10th Position 17th Speed 94.747 mph Speed 93.473 mph Speed 94.388 mph Time 62.579 seconds Time 63.432 seconds Time 62.817 seconds </pre> Kim Green -- General Manager
"As a team, we don't seem to like this race track very much. That is probably not indicative of the race track, we just haven't been able to balance the car and get it to a point where Michael can go fast. We've tried an awful lot of things and we've still got one more session tomorrow to see if we can get the race car sorted out. It's going to be a long race and a very physical race. This track really beats you up and Michael, as fit as he is, always races very well despite the conditions. Starting near the back might help with our race strategy for tomorrow and I certainly think that attrition is going to be a factor."