CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Fontana qualifying notes and quotes

Alex Tagliani Wins The Pole For The Marlboro 500 Ford-Cosworth Claims its Ninth Pole Position of The Season Notes: TAGLIANI CLAIMS THIRD CAREER POLE POSITION - Player's/Forsythe driver Alex Tagliani claimed the pole position for tomorrow's ...

Alex Tagliani Wins The Pole For The Marlboro 500
Ford-Cosworth Claims its Ninth Pole Position of The Season


TAGLIANI CLAIMS THIRD CAREER POLE POSITION - Player's/Forsythe driver Alex Tagliani claimed the pole position for tomorrow's season-finale at the California Speedway. Tagliani, who's pole position is his second this season (Vancouver) and second career on an oval (Brazil, '00), will lead the field to the green flag after averaging 228.727 miles per hour around the 2.029-mile super speedway. Cristiano da Matta will start second, while Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack qualified third and will make his eighth top-10 start on an oval this season. Forsythe Championship Racing's Bryan Herta qualified fourth, equaling his best starting position established at Texas (race cancelled) and Cleveland (finished third). Brack's Team Rahal teammate, Max Papis, qualified sixth and Herdez Bettenhausen driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., who finished third earlier this season at Michigan, will start seventh. Ford-Cosworth captured its ninth pole position of the season, the most since scoring 13 in 1995 with the XB engine, and has now won the pole position in five of the nine CART oval events this season.


ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 1st

"The car is very fast, the team was very quick earlier this season at Michigan and we're looking good right now. We didn't expect to qualify that fast actually, but I think we'll have a good shot to stay up front with that time."

YOU SAID YOU HAD SOME MOMENTUM COMING IN HERE AND WANTED TO FINISH THE SEASON WITH A FLOURISH. "Yeah, I would really like to because we've had so much bad luck this season. We were very quick in many races this season. In Vancouver we dominated that weekend but didn't come out with a win, but it would be really nice to leave here with at least a podium finish."

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 3rd

WAS IT A SURPRISE TO YOU THAT YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO GET A FRONT ROW START? "No, I don't think so. I anticipated the speed to be between 226 and 228, and we did a 227 and something, so right on target I'd say. We're happy. The car is running good and we're looking forward to the race tomorrow."

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN IN THE RACE TOMORROW? "We expect to be around until the 499th mile and then go to the 500th mile and try to be there at the end. It's going to be a tough race because I suspect that the cars are going to be pretty bunched up and it's going to be a crap shoot to see who gets to the line first."

BRYAN HERTA (#77 Forsythe Championship Racing Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 4th

YOU'VE BEEN QUICK ALL WEEKEND HERE. "Yeah, the car's been good. The balance there was a little too loose, but we'll see how it holds up. It was a bit of a ride."

WHAT ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW. YOU'VE HAD STRONG CARS IN THE PAST AND I KNOW YOU'D LIKE TO PUT A BIG EXCLAMATION POINT ON THE SEASON. "And I think we have one here. We had a good car at Michigan and were in the mix there all day, so I'm hopeful it'll be the same situation. Obviously the key here is you have to finish 500 miles, so if we can do that I think we'll be right there."

ANY PLANS FOR THE LAST LAPS AFTER GETTING LEFT OUT IN THE COLD AT MICHIGAN? "I learned my lesson - don't lead with 10 laps to go."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 6th

NOT ON THE POLE, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE YOU HAVE A SOLID RACECAR. "With this wing qualifying is always rolling the dice. We did the best compromise we could and the car was just perfect. Not enough RPM and we needed a little bit shorter gear, but we went shorter from this morning to this afternoon and it still wasn't enough. But overall kind of all right. I wanted to put the car on pole position for my last race with Team Rahal, but we'll try tomorrow to win the race instead."

YOU'VE LED MORE LAPS THAN ANYONE HAS ON SUPER SPEEDWAYS IN THE LAST FIVE EVENTS THAN ANYONE IN THE SERIES. "Well, that says something. I drove very hard and I didn't achieve all the results that I wanted. I'm going to achieve in the future the results that I want and I'm fighting for that. I feel that I'm very close. I keep digging and digging and we're going to see where it goes."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 7th

DID YOU HAVE A MECHANICAL FAILURE OUT THERE? "Well, I guess. The car felt pretty good, but it's hard in practice with all the drafting to really know where you are for qualifying. This morning with the trucks running yesterday, I think they destroyed the track for us because it was really slippery. I think we probably could've put together a little better car with some more time, but it's okay. Qualifying is not too important here and I'm sure we'll have a very good car for the race. We just need to be there at the end on the lead lap anybody who's there has a chance to win the race."

YOU WERE THERE AT THE END IN MICHIGAN, SO DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT GOING INTO THE RACE? "Oh yes. Last year here we were leading the race when we had a problem and had to stop, and at Michigan we were one of the strongest cars. I have no doubt that tomorrow we are one of the cars that has the most chance to win the race."

ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 17th

"We knew our speed in qualifying was not going to be huge, but I didn't expect to be this far back on the grid. It's a long race and we know you can win from last here, but I won't be last."

I SUPPOSE WITH ALL THE DRAFTING YOU CAN MOVE TO THE FRONT FAIRLY QUICKLY. "Yeah, it's nice and easy to pass here. Not easy, but it's a lot more possible than at other tracks. As you say, it's a long race with lots of pit stops and a lot of drafting, being smart, staying calm and waiting until the end to make a charge. But for sure you have many, many miles to make your way up tot he front."

IS THE DRAFTING THE SAME HERE AS IT IS AT MICHIGAN? "Here it's always a little more difficult to pass. At Michigan you have three lines going all the way around, while here you usually have two. But it's still very possible and it's always a lot of fun to watch us."

ALEX BARRON (#25 Driving 101/Arciero-Blair Racing Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 18th

"We've been making gains all weekend. The wing is quite a big factor and has really slowed us down. I think it's going to be much more difficult to follow people, but it definitely slows the cars down and is probably a little bit more safer in the long term. We're struggling to get up to the speeds that we had last year."

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE RACE TOMORROW? "I don't think it's going to be very hard to get to the front because the draft is so strong and I don't think you can really break away. It's going to be a little bit of a different strategy here in the race tomorrow."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 25th

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WERE ONLY GOING TO HAVE ONE LAP OF QUALIFYING AFTER THE PIT SPEED VIOLATION? "Yeah, they told me once I left the pits. I forgot about it and got the penalty there, but the car wouldn't have done it anyway. It was too loose."

SO I GUESS YOU JUST HAVE TO CONCENTRATE ON A STRONG RUN TOMORROW. "Yeah, that's the main thing. We were going to go for the pole, but if we couldn't do it then it didn't matter where we were going to start and we were going to prepare the car for the race."

IS THE DRAFTING HERE DIFFERENT THAN IT IS AT MICHIGAN WITH TWO GROOVES INSTEAD OF THREE? "Yeah, but I think you'll see three cars at one point. I think it's going to be an interesting race. During practice we could run side-by-side like at Michigan, so I think it's going to be as fun a race as Michigan was."

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Alex Tagliani , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain