CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Final Qualifying Report

Jack Durbin - Houston, TX (September 25, 1999) Rookie Juan Montoya (Target Honda ...

Jack Durbin -

Houston, TX (September 25, 1999) Rookie Juan Montoya (Target Honda #4) took his seventh pole of the season in the CART FedEx Championship Series season with a record setting lap of 59.699 seconds in an exciting qualifying session. The pole position remained in doubt until the very end with concerted challenges from Bryan Herta, Paul Tracy and Max Papis.

Bryan Herta (Shell Ford #8) qualified on the out side pole, with a lap of 59.086 seconds. He was followed by Team Kool Green Teammates Paul Tracy (Honda #26), and Dario Franchitti (Honda #27). Rounding out the top five is Max Papis (Miller Lite # 6). Remainder of the top 10 are: Gil de Ferran, Naoki Hattori, Tony Kanaan, Jan Magnussen and Adrian Fernandez.

"I think we had a good day, Said Montoya. "This morning the car felt pretty good, even from yesterday. The car was good, it wasn't perfect but we tried to improve. Maybe in 10 or 20 years it (tying the pole qualifying record of seven poles in a season) will mean more. At this time, I don't think it means much. I am just trying to win the championship."

Bryan Herta on his second place starting position; "We put a good lap together but it was a bit frustrating at times out there because we could have gone faster. I hit traffic a few times which cost us." I felt like we could do better but when I set my fast time, I was on my eighth lap on that set of tires so there was not much left in them for another lap. But he put together a good lap."

Christian Fittipaldi qualified 12th , "I braked too late and got into the wall in the beginning of the session. I made a mistake and now I have to pay for it. The whole session was a complete waste. I managed to get only two laps in on the track. We definitely had a shot today to qualify in the top-four. We are going to have to work that much harder tomorrow."

Jan Magnussen notched a career best qualifying of 9th. "I was very happy with the session", he said, "but it didn't start off that way with the threat for rain and the early red flag. Then I got into a good groove and we made a small change for the car and went for a quick lap. I am happy with the crew and the developments they made."

Paul Trace qualified in the third starting position. Talking about Montoya's record lap he commented, "It was just being on the track at the right time. Being in the second group, we didn't get the rain that was coming. For awhile we were second, then Bryan got us on the last Lap. I'm very happy with how we've done and how the team has done, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

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Series IndyCar