CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Ford Racing Qualifying Notes

HERTA TO START OUTSIDE ROW ONE FOR TOMORROW'S HOUSTON GP Team Rahal driver Bryan Herta drove his Shell Ford to an outside front row starting position for tomorrow's Houston Grand Prix. Herta, who qualified third yesterday, moved up a position...


Team Rahal driver Bryan Herta drove his Shell Ford to an outside front row starting position for tomorrow's Houston Grand Prix. Herta, who qualified third yesterday, moved up a position with a qualifying time of 59.066 seconds this afternoon.

Herta's teammate, Max Papis, also had an impressive run driving his Miller Lite Ford to fifth place on the grid. For the second consecutive race, Team Rahal drivers have posted the fastest qualifying times in the Ford camp.

Jan Magnussen eclipsed his career best qualifying effort by notching the ninth fastest time on Saturday. Magnussen's previous best qualifying effort came at Elkhart Lake in 1996 where he qualified 10th .

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - 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 on in the top-four. We are going to have to work that much harder tomorrow."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 11th - "I came up on Tony Kanaan on my quick lap and he was slowing down. I probably would have posted a time good for sixth or seventh. Still, it's not that stellar, but it is better than eleventh. The car was better but only for one lap. We are going to need a lot of luck for tomorrow. We are going to have to have perfect stops and hope that I can get by some people on the back straight, which is probably the best place to pass."

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 2nd - "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." MONTOYA MANAGED TO BETTER YOUR TIME BY THREE-TENTHS OF A SECOND, ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THAT? "Well he got a really good lap in. 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." HOW MUCH ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE YOUR SETUP FOR TOMORROW? "For me I don't think there are going to be a lot of changes. Just a few things because we are going to be racing with full tanks of fuel. Usually on the road and street courses, if it's good, you don't need to change it up that much."

MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 5th - TEAM RAHAL, FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK, ARE THE FASTEST QUALIFYING FORD-POWERED CARS ON THE GRID. WHAT HAVE YOU GUYS FOUND? "The most important thing for us is to stick with what we know, what's right for me and my driving style. This morning we decided to do that and stick with our experience, and that paid off. I had a lap capable for the pole but I was blocked a little bit. Today is a good victory for us because it showed that we have the balls to do the job."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 10th - "I wanted to take a chance in qualifying. The track is very bumpy as you can probably see from the in-car camera. My wrist is good enough to drive here, but it's sore because this track is very bumpy. The difference between here and Laguna is that at Laguna, although the steering loads are heavier than they are here it is a very smooth track." THE SPEEDS HAVE REALLY PICKED UP SINCE YESTERDAY. HOW MUCH BETTER IS THE TRACK? "The track is definitely better, but I think we improved the car a lot over yesterday too. I don't think we managed to get the car good enough for the pole, but I think I had bad luck in cases where I had a car good enough for the pole."

JAN MAGNUSSEN -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 9th - MAGNUSSEN NOTCHED HIS BEST CAREER QUALIFYING EFFORT TODAY WHEN HE POSTED THE NINTH FASTEST TIME DURING SECOND ROUND QUALIFYING FOR THE TEXACO GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON. "I was very happy with the session 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. The last few races I was starting so far back I couldn't see the leaders, but starting ninth, I can see the guys up front and that should make for a more enjoyable race. The last couple of races I have had to come from so far back it was tough."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. -19- Herdez/Viva Mexico Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 21st - "We still need to improve the car a lot. This is such a competitive series that you need all the speed you can get. This is a really hard place to overtake and we are going to have to prepare a car that is consistent, run good fuel strategy and have quick pit stops to make up positions on the track during the race."

MEMO GIDLEY -71- Herdez/Viva Mexico Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 25th - "This was very disappointing. I spun out there and I could just kick myself for it. The car was not damaged to bad and we should be able to get it ready for tomorrow. We really improved the car this morning too and it's too bad we couldn't show it. It looks like I am going to start last, so we are going to have our work cut out for us."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Max Papis , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta