TORONTO, ON (July 14, 2000) â€“ Team KOOL Greenâ€™s Dario Franchitti earned the provisional pole today, taking advantage of drying conditions in the closing minutes of qualifying at the Molson Indy. Franchitti, who was also the provisional...
TORONTO, ON (July 14, 2000) – Team KOOL Green’s Dario Franchitti earned the provisional pole today, taking advantage of drying conditions in the closing minutes of qualifying at the Molson Indy. Franchitti, who was also the provisional pole sitter at the last race in Cleveland, clocked a lap of 58.877 seconds around the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit for an average of 107.308 mph.
Franchitti edged his familiar rival Juan Montoya by 0.020 seconds, who finished with a time of 58.897 seconds (107.272 mph). Montoya was holding the provisional pole when Franchitti unseated him with about 40 seconds remaining in the 30-minute session. The session ended abruptly when Gil de Ferran smacked the wall at the exit of Turn 3 sending debris onto the race track. De Ferran’s teammate Helio Castroneves posted the third best lap with a time of 59.436 seconds (106.299 mph).
Heavy rains prior to the afternoon qualifying session left little chance for drivers to improve in the first group. Paul Tracy was among the first 13 cars in the split session, facing large puddles and a slick race course. Tracy spun his primary car early in his run, which bent the suspension. He was forced into his spare car, completing only eight laps. His best was a time of 70.154 seconds (90.059 mph), good enough for 16th.
The 25-car field returns to the track for practice tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with qualifying at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time. The second group of qualifying begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s race will be broadcast via tape-delay on ESPN at 3:00 p.m.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(16th with a lap-time of 1:10.154 seconds / 90.059 mph)
“I’m obviously frustrated with the way qualifying went. I don’t know why, but we always seem to have bad first days here. It’s a very slippery race track when wet. We went out and spun on the straightaway and crashed the KOOL car. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fixable in the time we had allotted in this session, so we had to go to the backup car. I wasn’t very happy with the grip level running on the wet circuit in either car. We had to qualify the backup car and we’ll use that car for the rest of the weekend. It’s a shame because this morning we were really making some progress with the setup of the car, but that all went out the window with the rain.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(1st with a lap-time of 58.877 seconds / 107.308 mph)
“I wanted to go to the slicks. I went out on a reconnaissance lap and saw that the track was dry. So, I said ‘yeah, the track is dry… let’s go, let’s get out there and get some heat into the tires’. Team KOOL Green’s engineers and Barry were having a bit of a debate about it. We all agreed and eventually went for it. I think we timed our decision really well.
“Before the session started, they pulled the blowers out and you could see the drivers from the previous session just shaking their heads. They were in the slower group and there was nothing they could do. The track was drying out and we were getting quicker every lap. I just went out and stood on it, really. We had been a bit conservative because our main objective was to try to stay in the fast group for tomorrow. I wasn’t sure if it’s going to rain tomorrow or not, but I’m of the opinion that it will be faster as it generally is.”