Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack was awarded the pole for tomorrow's Harrah's 500 at the Michigan International Speedway based on Saturday morning's practice times after qualifying was rained out. Seven drivers had completed their qualifying efforts...
Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack was awarded the pole for tomorrow's Harrah's 500 at the Michigan International Speedway based on Saturday morning's practice times after qualifying was rained out. Seven drivers had completed their qualifying efforts before the skies opened and it began to rain while Memo Gidley was beginning his warm-up laps. Brack posted a lap of 229.812 miles per hour (31.330 seconds) during Saturday's practice to lead all competitors while his teammate, Max Papis, will start alongside him after posting the second-fastest practice lap (228.695 miles per hour; 31.483 seconds). Rookie Tora Takagi will start third, Paul Tracy fourth and Tony Kanaan fifth, while Ford-powered drivers Michel Jourdain, Jr. and Bryan Herta will start sixth and seventh, respectively. Although Brack was awarded the pole position, he will not earn the single championship point usually associated with winning the pole.
Kenny Brack's pole position is the fifth of the season for Ford-Cosworth, and the 61st for Ford since it re-entered Champ Car racing in 1992 ... the five pole positions are the most for Ford-Cosworth since 1998 when it earned six ... Kenny Brack will be making his sixth front row start of the season, and his fourth from the pole ... Papis' front row start is his second in the last four races, and the best of his career at MIS ... Ford-Cosworth was now won six pole positions at MIS with its last coming in 1998 (Adrian Fernandez).
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Will start from the pole - "We've been running both qualifying and race runs yesterday and today and you never know in a race like this, but I think it'll be fine."
IS THIS A FAIR WAY TO DETERMINE THE STARTING GRID?
"To me I don't care which they do it. We're leading the championship and we were fastest yesterday and fastest today, so if we don't get qualifying in I don't know. They can do it any way they want but we covered our bases and unless they do it by lottery system, we should be first any way." HOW WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE SEEN IT DONE? "Of course it's always good if we can run qualifying, but I think today we would've had a very strong chance for the pole. We ran the car very fast yesterday and today and I think that it would've been very interesting, but we would've had a really, really good shot at the pole. But in a race like this it doesn't really matter. The starting grid is of no importance right now because it didn't pay the [championship] point and as we're going to come out of Turn Two tomorrow there's going to be a traffic jam. We just have to make sure that we don't get involved with anything silly."
DO YOU THINK ANYBODY IS GOING TO WANT TO LEAD TOMORROW OR WILL THEY STAY IN THE DRAFT?
"I think it's going to be a balance between the two. You're not going to want to lead every lap, but it's important to lead enough laps to get that point. On the other hand you need to be able to save fuel too, but you can't put yourself in a position where you're with a bunch of cars and get taken out. We had that happening last year to us. We were actually very comfortable up at the front and then we decided to take a little step back and got involved in an accident, so that wasn't too clever. You just have to think about what you're doing tomorrow."
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Will start 2nd - "We were running this morning trying to find a clear lap, and were just covering our bases and working to come up with a good qualifying car. We put this 228 [mile per hour] lap together not really looking for it and here we go, a front row start for Team Rahal."
COULD YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW HOW THE CARS WILL HANDLE IN TRAFFIC?
"We have a pretty clear how things are going to be. We practiced yesterday and ran very close to a lot of other cars, but it's definitely going to be a different game. Everybody is going to be pretty close to each other and it's going to be very important to keep the switch of the brain on all the time because if it goes off for a fraction of a second it can cause a big problem. I just feel that it's going to be very important to stay sharp, not relax too much, and just do your own race and be respectful of the other people."
BOBBY RAHAL (Owner, Team Rahal) - "I'm very happy, obviously. Listening in on the conversations between Scott Roembke, Mark Johnson and Kenny and Max, and seeing how the team is working, I find it to be very well organized and I think the results this year are showing that. I think it's a very professional process that I'm listening to, and I just feel that that's been responsible for much of this because everything seems to be under control and well planned. Tomorrow is a very long day and it's truly an engine test to be dragging these wings around. It takes a lot of power and obviously the Ford-Cosworth engine has shown over the last several years that it's a pretty good engine for this circuit. But as I said, it's going to be a long day tomorrow and let's just hope that we have no problems and that these guys are 1-2 at the end of the race."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Will start 6th - "Obviously I'm really happy with our starting position, and I think we have a very good car for tomorrow. The time that we got this morning we got with the draft, but we had been working yesterday and this morning on getting a car that worked well in the draft. It's a very, very long race and starting position doesn't really matter, but starting up front is always better than starting towards the back."
MAX WILSON (#25 B2B.com Ford-Cosworth) - Withdrawn - MAX WILSON SPUN AND MADE CONTACT WITH THE WALL IN TURN TWO MIDWAY THROUGH THE SATURDAY MORNING PRACTICE. WILSON WAS AIRLIFTED TO FOOTE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL WHERE AFTER BEING EXAMINED HE WAS RELEASED WITH A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH. HE WILL NOT RACE IN TOMORROW'S EVENT, AND HAS RETURNED TO HIS HOME IN INDIANAPOLIS, IN.