DETROIT (June 16, 2000) - On a day when his team owner, Bobby Rahal, was chosen interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Max Papis earned the provisional pole position for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand...
DETROIT (June 16, 2000) - On a day when his team owner, Bobby Rahal, was chosen interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Max Papis earned the provisional pole position for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on The Raceway at Belle Isle (1 p.m. ET, live ESPN).
Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) recorded a lap of 114.280 miles per hour (1 minute, 13.903 seconds) on the 2.346-mile temporary street circuit to take the provisional for Sunday's seventh round of the FedEx Championship Series. A second round of qualifying is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday, after which the grid will be set for Sunday's 84-lap, 197.06-mile event.
It is the second provisional pole at Detroit in three seasons for Papis, a 1999 CART All Star in his second season driving for Rahal, who was named to the president and CEO's role following Friday's resignation of Andrew Craig. Papis earned the provisional pole for the 1998 event at Detroit while driving for the Arciero-Wells Racing Team, now PPI Motorsports.
Papis was followed on the provisional grid by Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, who put together a lap of 113.654 mph (1:14.310). Like Papis, he will be chasing the second pole of his career Saturday and his first on a road or street course.
Rookie Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) added further to a successful day for Team Rahal by taking third on the provisional grid at 113.622 mph (1:14.331). He is chasing his first career pole and looking to improve on his season-best start of second at Japan.
Rounding out the top five drivers were Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, fourth at 113.620 mph (1:14.331) and defending Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix champion Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, fifth at 113.548 mph (1:14.379).
FedEx Championship Series points leader Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green qualified 16th at 111.295 mph (1:15.885). He holds a 59-52 lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Reynard Ford) of Patrick Racing entering final qualifying today, for which a championship point will be awarded. Moreno qualified 11th at 111.587 mph (1:15.686).
Defending FedEx Championship Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was sixth fastest at 113.522 mph (1:14.396). He is seeking his second victory in a row following a June 5 win at The Milwaukee Mile, the first in Toyota's five years of Champ Car competition.
MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "Today was very good. The Miller team was the best today. The other guys better go home and find some more speed tonight because we've got a lot. I really enjoy this track. I was up here (on the provisional pole) in '98 with Arciero-Wells Racing and Toyota, but those were different circumstances. Now I've got new partners, and (team owner) Bobby (Rahal)'s given me a really good car."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "This morning the car was good, very, very fast. The track was pretty green early, but it got better and better, and the track was pretty good this afternoon. I had a little bit of understeer in qualifying, but I was going pretty fast at the end when the red flag came out. It would be nice if it would rain tomorrow and we could preserve a good starting position, but if it doesn't, we've still got a good car for tomorrow."
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Reynard: "I've had a pretty good car so far. I came to grips with the car pretty early here. Both me and Max were quick in qualifying. Towards the end I was pushing pretty hard and I crashed. But it wasn't damaged too and I think we'll be able to get it back together for tomorrow."
JAMES HARDYMON, newly appointed chairman of the CART Board of Directors: "I actually was asked by the board to step into a pretty cleanly-defined role. I have a background of 38 years in the corporate world and CEO for the last seven or eight. I did have quite a bit of work in corporate governs, administration, things like that, that could add something to this being a public company. I do not plan to be an everyday person, that's not what the chairman's supposed to do, there's a CEO for that. I'm going to be here to support him and do things with the board for him and to conduct the board meetings." (On relationship with Bobby Rahal) "I got mad when he went out of the race occasionally and cheered when he won. It's gotten to be a very close relationship as years have gone by, it's kind of gotten into a family situation. There's 20 years difference in age, so that's quite a bit of difference. He brought me into it, but I've learned a lot from a lot of these other people around the room here. I don't profess to be somebody that knows everything about this sport. I'm on seven New York Stock Exchange boards, American Standard, Circuit City, boards like that, so that's the life I sort of have since I retired at 65 from active duty. This is a chance to do a little bit more with a person I want to work with."
BOBBY RAHAL, new CART President and CEO: "Naturally, I'm very excited about this new role for me. I first want to recognize Andrew for his contributions. He did a lot a very, very, good things for us, and I don't think anybody could forget that or not give credit where credit is due, and it was a difficult time. Nevertheless, I'm very pleased to be here. I love this sport; I have a passion for this sport. It's been my life. I am a huge believer in open wheel racing and I am fortunate to have my good friend Jim here, and all my friends on the board that I've competed against for many years worked with, sometimes drove for over the years. I'm really excited about the future for CART, and now with the help of Jim and Bert Roberts, Fred Tucker, our outside directors, and all of our other board of directors, and everybody who's quick with an opinion, I think we can take this sport to greater heights, and that's what I'm dedicated to doing. (On the timing of this announcement) Why now? I guess I speak for the board to some degree, and I think we felt it was time. There was no one particular thing. I think there were some opportunities for Andrew outside, and obviously we have some challenges ahead of us that can be beaten, can be conquered, but we need to get with the program and get it done and start the process. I think that we've taken a big step today towards that. There's a lot of effort. I have no illusions that it's going to be easy. I expect it's going to be very difficult, but with the kind of resources that all of us at CART have at our command, I think we can do what needs to be done to take open wheel racing to where it needs to be."
Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) will be chasing the second pole position of his FedEx Championship Series career, and his first on a road or street course when final qualifying begins Saturday afternoon. He earned his first career pole at Chicago Motor Speedway last year.
Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) is also seeking his second career pole and his first at a road/street venue, after earning his first at The Milwaukee Mile last season.
Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) has qualified among the top 10 drivers for five of the six FedEx Championship Series events to date, topped by second at Japan. A 16th-place start in Milwaukee marks his only grid position outside the top 10.
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), the provisional fourth-place qualifier, has started fifth or better for five of six FedEx Championship Series events this season, including pole positions at Homestead and Long Beach.
Qualifying for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will air 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.