David Reininger - motorsport.com Detroit, Mich. (June 17, 2000) - Target Team Ganassi racing driver Juan Montoya, who has started on the front row in six of the seven races this season, stretched Toyota's front row starting streak to eight ...
David Reininger - motorsport.com
Detroit, Mich. (June 17, 2000) - Target Team Ganassi racing driver Juan Montoya, who has started on the front row in six of the seven races this season, stretched Toyota's front row starting streak to eight consecutive races after earning the pole position for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix. Montoya earned his 11th career pole position after breaking a two-year old track record set by the late Greg Moore.
Montoya and Dario Franchitti, who were tied in points at the end of last season and had to use a tie-breaker to determine the championship, used a tie-breaker today to determine the front row. Setting identical times, both drivers lowered the track record set two years ago by Greg Moore by .474 seconds.
Franchitti, driver of the Team Kool Green Honda-powered Reynard, will start on the outside of the front row after applying a tie-breaker, which uses each driver's second fastest lap, to set he grid. "We worked pretty hard to get he car going fast," said Franchitti. "I just kept pushing it harder and harder. There was still more in the car, but the limit is so high. I told the guys this morning I need the car to handle a certain way and if they gave me that we'd be up at the front. I guess we just didn't push it hard enough."
While Target Ganassi and Team Kool Green cars will start on the front row, teammates to the front row starters did not fare as well. Montoya's teammate, Jimmy Vasser, will start 18th. "We're still having difficulty with the mid-corner understeer and unfortunately the changes we made after this morning's practice didn't fix the problem. I know the team is working very hard to figure this out and I'm sure we'll do better tomorrow. In the end our goal is to get some points and stay in the championship race."
Paul Tracy, who is Franchitti's teammate at Team Kool Green, will start 20th after struggling for most of the weekend with a lack of mechanical grip. "It was a frustrating day again for us," Tracy said. "We just lost too much time going off course and the eight minute penalty we got from CART for causing a red flag. We'll have to be patient in the race tomorrow, and try to salvage a decent finish and some more championship points."
Marlboro Team Penske teammates, Helio Castroneves and Gil deFerran qualified third and fourth respectively for tomorrow's race. "I don't know if the track changed, but I wasn't as fast on my second set of tires as I'd hoped to be," said Castroneves, who, with his third place on tomorrow's grid, equals his season best starting position. "On the first set, every lap was better than the one before. But after we put on the new tires the car picked up a bit of push. It's the only time all week we haven't been first or second fastest."
"Still, grid position is very important here, and we're starting up front. We'll see what we can do with that tomorrow."
De Ferran will be on the outside of the all Marlboro Team Penske second row. "We had a bit of understeer which we worked on throughout the session and the last change we made was a definite gain," de Ferran said. "The team is looking pretty good with Helio and I starting in the second row. We need to be there at the end and finish in the points."
Overnight polesitter, Max Papis, shaved .374 seconds off his best time yesterday to end up fifth on Sunday's grid. "We did a very good job," said Papis. "Unfortunately, on my fast lap I ran up on Moreno and that slowed me a bit. We got a little shafted there."
"Yesterday we nailed it right every time, but today that wasn't the case. Actually, I thought the time we put up today would have been good for the top three. But we are okay. I just hope tomorrow's race is going to be better than last years' when I went out on the first turn." Live television coverage of the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN.
Notes: Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. and Quokka Sports, Inc. announced today the launch of the Biggest CART Fan Contest on www.cart.com. The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the final race of the year in Fontana, Calif., where they will spend the day with CART drivers Michael Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi and Tony Kannaan. Fans wishing to enter the contest must submit an essay of 150 words or less explaining why they are CART's biggest fan. Deadline for entry is July 20. Ten finalists will be announced at the Chicago Motor Speedway during the Target Grand Prix weekend, July 28-30.