CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Cleveland qualifying notes

Arciero-Blair Racing driver Max Wilson will start third in tomorrow's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland - his best Champ Car start in six career CART events. Wilson's qualifying lap of 57.892 seconds (130.961 mph) was the third fastest of the first...

Arciero-Blair Racing driver Max Wilson will start third in tomorrow's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland - his best Champ Car start in six career CART events. Wilson's qualifying lap of 57.892 seconds (130.961 mph) was the third fastest of the first session, and was set before heavy rains slowed the second group of drivers. Mauricio Gugelmin claimed the pole with his lap of 57.356 seconds (132.185 mph), while Adrian Fernandez will start second with his effort of 57.517 seconds (131.815 mph) and Zakspeed/Forsythe driver Bryan Herta will make his best start of the season from outside of Row Two (57.904 seconds). All 13 drivers in the first qualifying group posted faster lap times than the drivers in the second group after rain showers doused the track between the two sessions. Team Rahal drivers Kenny Brack (1 minute, 1.992 seconds) and Max Papis (1 minute, 3.635 seconds) will start 17th and 22nd after being forced to qualify on a wet track.

Bryan Herta also qualified fourth at Texas earlier this season

... Herta has performed well during his career at Cleveland with five top-10 finishes, including a career-best of second in 1995

... Cosworth Racing looks for consecutive wins at Cleveland for the first time since 1985 (Al Unser, Jr.) and 1986 (Danny Sullivan)

... Cosworth Racing won its 100th Champ Car race in 1984 when Danny Sullivan took the checkered flag.

MAX WILSON (#25 Redback Networks Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 3rd

"I think it was a pretty good run. We were struggling a little bit during practice, especially since neither I or the team have never been here before, so we were playing around with the car a lot during practices. After this morning's session I sat with my engineer and talked about a good set up for the car. We came up with a good solution and the car improved a great deal for qualifying."

WHAT DID YOU CHANGE THAT HELPED YOU FIND ALMOST A SECOND AND A HALF?

"Actually this morning I think we could've been a little bit faster. We didn't put new tires on because we started with new tires and nobody else did that. And then towards the end of the session we planned on putting on a fresh set, but the car wasn't too good so we decided to save them for the race. We also changed a lot of things with our suspension which helped a lot, so I think that was the difference."

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A TRACK THIS BUMPY?

"No. It's much bumpier than any other place that I have been."

DO YOU THINK IT'S HURT YOUR PERFORMANCE?

"No - I think it's the same for everybody. For me it was a bit difficult yesterday to find a reference point on the track because it's flat and you don't have curbs, so it was hard for me to find my way around. But now that I've been on the track a lot more since then, I think I'm okay."

YOU RACED ON AN AIRPORT CIRCUIT BEFORE THOUGH, RIGHT?

"Yeah, but that was a much smaller airport that was much narrower, more like a street course. This airport is much bigger and much wider and a lot bumpier than the one I raced on before."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/ Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 9th

"We worked hard an improved the set up from what we had yesterday, but it wasn't enough. Actually the car is slower around the corners than it was yesterday morning on the fourth lap of the day. Obviously everybody else is improving and we went backwards."

IS IT DISAPPOINTING CONSIDERING YOUR LAST FEW RESULTS?

"It is disappointing. I want to be up at the front all the time, and if we can do that it's great. But this is such a competitive series that some weekends we're going to be there and some we're not, and it's the same whether your name is [Paul] Tracy, [Dario] Franchitti, or Michael Andretti. You start at the front and you start at the back, and it changed every week."

ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 12th

"So far this has been a pretty tough weekend. We never really got up to speed and we lost the momentum when I crashed. Then the backup car was different and we couldn't test what we wanted to test, so everything has been going against us. But it's a long race tomorrow and we've seen worse situations come to a happy end, so we'll see. We'll work hard tonight and try to figure out where we're loosing all of that time."

DOES THE BUMPY SURFACE MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO FIND A GOOD SET UP?

"There are always a lot of bumps here and it's obvious that we haven't been too good over them because we're very slow. The truth is the car didn't feel extremely bad during qualifying, but we just need to improve it a lot because we are very far from where we should be."

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 17th

A TOUGH BREAK FOR YOUR GROUP WITH THE RAIN.

"Yeah, but what can you do? There's nothing you can do about it."

TALK ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE OUT THERE.

"We might have gotten three or four more positions if we would've put the slicks on a lap earlier. On my fastest lap I got held up through Turn Five when [Helio] Castroneves was in front of me. He let me by but ... it wasn't his fault, it's just that he was in the middle of the turn when I was in the middle of the turn and I lost time there. The best it might've been 14th and we're 17th right now, so it doesn't make much difference."

THIS IS A WIDE TRACK AND PEOPLE HAVE COME FROM THE BACK AND WON HERE.

"Yeah, lots of stuff happens here. Last year we had a first corner crash that helped us. We weren't involved and got through that and was ninth after the first lap I think, which always helps. It's also a big risk starting that far back here because there's a lot of stuff that happens in that first corner."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 22nd

"Usually we're in the slow group and hope to get into the fast group, so now we're in the fast group and it rained. But I'm pleased to see [Mauricio] Gugelmin on pole position. He's been around for a long time and he deserves some satisfaction. For sure God has a better plan for us tomorrow."

BUT THIS IS A TRACK THAT YOU CAN PASS ON AND PEOPLE HAVE COME FROM BACK IN THE PACK TO WIN.

"If you have a good car you can easily pass here. I feel that we've been improving the car all weekend. Tomorrow we'll have a fresh engine to put in the car, so I feel confident. Our starting position doesn't necessarily show how much performance we have in the car."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Al Unser Sr. , Danny Sullivan
Teams Team Zakspeed