CHAMPCAR/CART: Gateway Saturday track notes

Good Morning from Gateway International Raceway for Qualifying day in St. Louis! Saturday's weather is again perfect for racing -- cloudless skies and cool temperatures rule. The track temperatures being cooler, the speeds should be up this...

Good Morning from Gateway International Raceway for Qualifying day in St. Louis! Saturday's weather is again perfect for racing -- cloudless skies and cool temperatures rule. The track temperatures being cooler, the speeds should be up this morning. Also, Friday's strong wind from the northwest is nonexistent Saturday morning, giving the drivers a bit of relief steering into Turn 1 and 2. First up on the CART on-track action is a split-group practice session taking the Green Flag at 9:30 a.m., each group on-track for 45 minutes. Group Two will be comprised of the fastest 12 drivers from Friday's practice session. The practice session will be followed by the start of qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 300 at 1:30 p.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to start the Group One practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 82 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 63 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes into the Group one session, the fastest driver is #32X CARPENTIER with a lap of 177.285 mph (25.789 seconds), followed by #20 MORENO (175.839 mph; 26.001) and #6 ANDRETTI (175.617; 26.034).

At 10 a.m., 30 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is now #20 MORENO with a lap of 177.340 mph (25.781 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (177.326 mph; 25.783 seconds) and #32X CARPENTIER (177.285 mph; 25.789 seconds).

At 10:08 a.m., #32X CARPENTIER moves to the top of the speed board with a lap of 177.837 mph (25.709 seconds).

At 10:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #32X CARPENTIER with his earlier lap of 178.162 mph (25.662 seconds), followed by #40X FERNANDEZ (177.657 mph; 25.735 seconds) and #20 MORENO (177.340 mph; 25.781 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:15 a.m. to end the Group One session with #40X FERNANDEZ now the fastest with a lap of 179.168 mph (25.518 seconds), followed by #32X CARPENTIER (178.733 mph; 25.580 seconds) and #20 MORENO (178.183 mph; 25.659 seconds). FERNANDEZ is more than eight miles per hour faster than his best time from Friday's session, while CARPENTIER improved by nearly six miles per hour.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the Group Two practice session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:37 a.m. for a track inspection after #97 DA MATTA pits with fluid showing at the rear of the car. CART safety workers quickly inspect the track but find no moisture on the surface. DA MATTA's crew quickly repairs the car and the driver continues in the session.

At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two practice session, the fastest Group Two driver is #55 KANAAN with a lap of 176.586 mph (25.891 seconds; sixth overall), followed by #8 BRACK (176.532 mph; 25.899 seconds; seventh overall) and #12 VASSER (175.900 mph; 25.992 seconds; 10th overall).

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:41 a.m. to resume the Group Two session.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest Group Two driver is now #1X MONTOYA with a lap of 179.006 mph (25.541 seconds; second overall), followed by #8 BRACK (177.933 mph; 25.695 seconds; fifth overall) and #7 PAPIS (177.079; 25.819 seconds; seventh overall).

At 10:55 a.m., #2 DE FERRAN logs the fastest lap of Group Two with a speed of 179.083 mph (25.530 seconds; second overall).

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest Group Two driver is still #2 DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 179.083 mph (25.530; second overall), followed by #1X MONTOYA (179.006 mph; 25.541 seconds; third-fastest overall) and #7 PAPIS (178.406 mph; 25.627 seconds; fifth overall).

At 11:07 a.m., #8 BRACK logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 179.196 mph (25.514 seconds) on his 35th lap but is immediately surpassed by #1X MONTOYA with a lap of 180.142 mph (25.380 seconds) on his 33rd lap.

At 11:09 a.m., #97 DA MATTA clocks a 180.398 mph (25.344 second-) lap and takes over the top of the speed board.

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #97 DA MATTA with his earlier lap of 180.398 mph (25.344 seconds), followed by #1X MONTOYA (180.142 mph; 25.380 seconds) and #8 BRACK (179.196 mph; 25.514 seconds).

At 11:14 a.m., #7 PAPIS logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a lap of 180.626 mph (25.312 seconds) on his 39th circuit.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:15 a.m. with #7 PAPIS staying on top of the speed board with his earlier lap of 180.626 mph (25.312 seconds), followed by #97 DA MATTA (180.398 mph; 25.344 seconds) and #1X MONTOYA (180.142 mph; 25.380 seconds). The top 22 cars of 26 total are separated by less than one second in lap times at the end of the session. Secondary cars were utilized by #1X MONTOYA, #40X FERNANDEZ, #32X CARPENTIER, and #25X GARCIA JR. The drivers logged a total of 1,109 incident-free laps during the session. As the Green Flag approaches for qualifying, the temperatures are still very comfortable with no clouds in the sky. The drivers will have up to the fourth time by the flagstand before starting their official timed laps.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start qualifying. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 119 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 74 degrees F. at the start of the qualifying session. The track temperature is about eight degrees hotter than in Friday's afternoon session.

#25 GARCIA JR.'s top speed: 168.162 mph (27.188 seconds), second lap. GARCIA is subsequently disqualified and his time disallowed as the car did not pass a post-race inspection.

#34 MARQUES' top speed: 170.788 mph (26.770 seconds), first lap.

#5 NAKANO's top speed: 171.828 mph (26.608 seconds), first lap.

#16 JOURDAIN JR.'s top speed: 173.333 mph (26.377 seconds), second lap.

#10 GIDLEY's top speed: 174.864 mph (26.146 seconds), second lap.

#18 BLUNDELL's top speed: 174.811 mph (26.154 seconds), second lap.

#27 FRANCHITTI's top speed: 179.196 mph (25.514 seconds), second lap. FRANCHITTI sits on the Provisional Pole. FRANCHITTI had previously practiced with a best speed of 175.691 mph (26.023 seconds).

#19 BARRON's top speed: 176.233 mph (25.943 seconds), second lap.

#11 FITTIPALDI's top speed: 175.785 mph (26.009 seconds), first lap. FITTIPALDI slows dramatically at Turn 1 on his second lap and coasts back to Pit Road.

#96 SERVIA's top speed: 175.347 mph (26.074) seconds, second lap.

#26 TRACY's top speed: 179.294 mph (25.500) seconds, second lap. TRACY is now on the Provisional Pole. TRACY had previously practiced at 176.819 mph (25.857 seconds).

#6 ANDRETTI's top speed: 176.307 mph (25.932 seconds), second lap. ANDRETTI is currently third on the Provisional Grid.

#17 GUGELMIN's top speed: 177.809 mph (25.713 seconds), first lap. GUGELMIN is now third on the Provisional Grid. GUGELMIN is subsequently disqualified and his time is disallowed after the car fails a post-qualifying inspection. GUGELMIN will start 24th on the grid.

#12 VASSER's top speed: 180.227 mph (25.368 seconds), second lap. VASSER sits on the Provisional Pole.

#20 MORENO's top speed: 177.498 mph (25.758 seconds), first lap. MORENO is currently fifth on the Provisional Grid.

#33 TAGLIANI's top speed: 178.301 (25.642 seconds), second lap. TAGLIANI is currently fourth on the Provisional Grid.

#32X CARPENTIER's top speed: 179.182 mph (25.516 seconds), second lap. CARPENTIER is currently fourth on the Provisional Grid.

#55 KANAAN's top speed: 178.866 mph (25.561 seconds), first lap.

#40X FERNANDEZ's top speed: 178.782 mph (25.573 seconds), first lap.

#3 CASTRONEVES' top speed: 178.100 mph (25.671 seconds), first lap.

#2 DE FERRAN's top speed: 177.099 mph (25.816 seconds), second lap.

#8 BRACK's top speed: 177.216 mph (25.799 seconds), second lap.

#1X MONTOYA's top speed: 180.334 mph (25.353 seconds), first lap. MONTOYA is now on the Provisional Pole.

#97 DA MATTA's top speed: 178.044 mph (25.679 seconds), first lap. DA MATTA is currently 10th on the Provisional Grid.

#7 PAPIS' top speed: 176.634 mph (25.884 seconds), first lap. PAPIS winds up 15th on the grid.

JUAN MONTOYA wins the Pole for Sunday's Motorola 300! MONTOYA logs a lap of 180.334 mph (25.353 seconds) in his Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota Lola to snare his series-leading sixth Pole of the season. This is MONTOYA's 13th career Pole, tying him for eighth on the all-time CART Poles-won chart. MONTOYA has won six of the eight short-oval Poles that he has challenged in a Champ Car, including a sweep of all four this year.

JIMMY VASSER will start second Sunday in his Target/Chip Ganassi Toyota/Lola after recording a 180.227 mph (25.368 second-) lap. VASSER ties his best start of the year as he also started second at Long Beach.

PAUL TRACY is third on the grid by virtue of his 179.294 mph (25.500 second)-lap. TRACY has started within the top three in two of the last three events.

Toyota logs the first sweep of the front row in its Champ Car history, logging his sixth Pole in the last nine events. This also represents the first Target/Chip Ganassi Racing sweep of the front row since 1996 Mid-Ohio.

Quotes from Saturday's top three qualifiers follow:

JUAN MONTOYA: "The car had a lot of understeer this morning. We did some changes before qualifying, and the car was a lot better this afternoon. It still had a little bit of understeer, but it is a lot better. I left a little bit out there, I had to lift quite a bit in Turn 3. But I was still able to put in a good speed and get the pole, so it's good. You just go out and drive. You never expect to break down again."

JIMMY VASSER: "We really didn't get a chance to throw a couple sets of tires at it this morning, because I had an electronic problem or something. I knew the car was a little twitchy at the back, but we made some small changes and the back of the car was much better this afternoon. I think the conditions were about the same as this morning. Some of the other guys must have thought the conditions were going to change more than they did."

PAUL TRACY: "It's a good showing for me and [teammate] Dario [Franchitti]. I struggled this morning. The car was well balanced, but I just couldn't get a good lap. But we got a good one in qualifying. Some of the other contenders [for the championship] are pretty far back. As long as we get a good start, we should be in good shape. You can always count the points you didn't get, but the key is to get points and not get frustrated. If frustration gets into the team, that can be bad. Our team isn't like that. We just think we should always give 100 percent, and if we don't get it, we gave 100 percent and that's all we can do."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing