BRACK CLAIMS POLE WITH LAST LAP HEROICS - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack claimed pole position for Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road America with his last minute dash around the four-mile permanent road circuit during today's qualifying session.
BRACK CLAIMS POLE WITH LAST LAP HEROICS - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack claimed pole position for Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road America with his last minute dash around the four-mile permanent road circuit during today's qualifying session. Following a brief red flag for Dario Franchitti's spin, Brack's final qualifying lap of 2 minutes, 3.531 seconds was good enough to claim his fifth pole position of the season (and career) and his second on a road course (Mexico). Alex Tagliani will make his best start of the 2001 season after qualifying second with a lap of 2 minutes, 6.74 seconds, giving Ford-Cosworth a sweep of the top two starting positions and its third pole in the last four races at Road America.
Kenny Brack's pole position is the sixth of the 2001 season for Ford-Cosworth, and the first for the manufacturer at Road America since Michael Andretti claimed back-to-back poles in 1998 and 1999 ... four of Alex Tagliani's five top qualifying efforts this season have come on road courses, including today's outside pole position. After qualifying 8th at Texas, Tagliani has qualified seventh at Cleveland, fifth at Toronto and sixth at Mid-Ohio.
QUITE A RUN ON THAT LAST LAP. I GUESS YOU FIND ENOUGH DRY TRACK TO GET IT DONE.
"Yeah, I guess we did. You've got to be a little smart about things when you have drying conditions like this. I had great help from my crew and everybody today, and the car ran great too because you can't do it without a great car. Timing was everything, and we just put 100 percent effort out there today."
HOW TOUGH WAS IT TO FIND DRY TRACK IN THE CORNERS AND THEN SOME WET TRACK DOWN THE STRAIGHTS TO COOL THE TIRES?
"Well yeah, that's the trick. In some corners you have to figure out a different line because you have to run where it has the most grip because that's where it's the driest. On this track because it's so long, the backside here is under a lot of trees and the leaves are hanging over the track so it never really dries there. It's kind of tricky, but I was searching for that all the way through the session to see where things would dry out the best."
HOW MUCH PRESSURE DID YOU FEEL KNOWING THAT IT HAD TO COME ON THAT FINAL LAP?
"It's the same for everyone in those kind of conditions, but it was certainly interesting to try and figure out where to run. You have to pick out the driest spots through the corners on a course like this and it's varying quite a lot because the course is long and has a lot of areas that are in the shadows. It's kind of tricky, but it was a great run for the Shell Ford and for Team Rahal. I'm really, really happy."
"First of all the team gave me a great car for the wet conditions. I was not expecting the track to dry out but then it stopped raining for a bit and we saw that the track was drying out fast and we knew that at the end it was going to the time to do a fast lap. We came in, made a small change in the end and it worked out very good for us. The last lap was great until I got behind Helio [Castroneves] on the last three corners. I picked up some turbulence and lost the front a little bit, but it was fast enough to be second."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR TOMORROW?
"I don't want to predict anything and I don't want to expect anything because last year I was first by far until 10 laps to go and we didn't finish the race because of a mechanical problem. In CART it is very competitive and you just need to push hard. Right now the team is strong, we're doing good, we're consistently finishing the points, so I think if we continue to do what we're doing without expecting anything we'll do good in the end."
"At first I thought, 'man, we got it,' but on the lap I spun was a second and a half faster which would've put us right at the front from the beginning of the session. With that red flag and that last bit of running everybody had one lap to do it and some guys had a good lap and I went off the track. It still put us 12th but I thought we would be more up front and that's disappointing."
BUT WHEN IT WAS STILL RAINING YOU AND [TEAMMATE] ALEX [TAGLIANI] WERE THE QUICKEST IN THE SESSION.
"We had the lap that was a second and a half faster had I not spun, but man, I wish it would've dried out." A SPIN IN THE CAROUSEL? "Yeah, I kept the throttle down so the car wouldn't go off into the sand. I was trying to keep the car on the track as hard as I could, but it worked out and I kept going. It was fast and I thought I was going to end up in the barrier in the back there, but I downshifted and we kept going, so it was perfect."
YOUR CAR AND TEAM SEEMS TO COME TOGETHER BECAUSE YOU'VE HAD SOME REALLY STRONG EFFORTS LATELY.
"Yeah, but this hasn't been one of them. The car was really good and I was up towards the top of the charts for the entire session and on the last two laps I got blocked. I'm just really frustrated right now."
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAST LAP BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THE FASTEST TIME IN THE SESSION.
"I backed off on the next-to-last one, which still would've put me in the top three I think. But I backed off because I knew I had one lap to go and I caught [Alex] Zanardi and he wouldn't let me by. So I backed off and tried to give him a gap and I came up towards him into [Turn] Five, locked the brakes and missed the corner. Then he ran off the next turn and came back out in front of me and even with all that I was still close to my best lap. The car had more in it and we definitely could've put in a better lap."
"We were climbing up the board and the car was running really, really fast and my engineer, John Dick, did a fantastic job setting my car up for the rain as usual. With 15 minutes to go in the session I went down the back straight and the engine let go." HOW SLICK WERE THE CONDITIONS OUT THERE? "It was very slick but I think we were handling better than most of the other guys out there. For one reason or another we are not in a very good starting position and it's a tremendous disappointment for me."