CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Team Kool Green Provisional Qualifying Notes

FRANCHITTI 6TH AND TRACY 9TH IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING CART FedEx Championship Series Round 18 of 20 - Texaco/Havoline GP of Houston HOUSTON, Tex., (Sept. 24, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy were sixth and ninth ...

FRANCHITTI 6TH AND TRACY 9TH IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING

CART FedEx Championship Series Round 18 of 20 - Texaco/Havoline GP of Houston

HOUSTON, Tex., (Sept. 24, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy were sixth and ninth respectively today in provisional qualifying for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Sunday's 100-lap race will be broadcast live on ABC at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

Points leader Juan Montoya earned the provisional pole with one of only two laps under the one-minute mark at 59.884 seconds (91.797 mph). Christian Fittipaldi, who returns after missing the last five races due to injury, had the other sub 60-second lap. Fittipaldi toured the 1.527-mile street circuit in 59.965 seconds (91.673 mph), just .081 seconds behind Montoya. Bryan Herta was third quick, while Patrick Carpentier and Naoki Hattori were fourth and fifth.

Franchitti and Tracy were together in the first group before track conditions improved to allow for better grip. Franchitti's quick lap was .485 seconds off of the pole time at 60.369 seconds (91.060 mph). Tracy, meanwhile, was .713 seconds behind Montoya who was in the second group as a result of qualifying 16th last race at Laguna Seca. Tracy's time today was 60.597 seconds (90.717 mph).

Cars are back on track for practice tomorrow, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Central Time with final qualifying at 12:45 p.m.

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (9th with a lap-time of 60.597 seconds / 90.717 mph)

"I brushed the wall, catching the tail end of the KOOL car [right rear] and that ended our qualifying session. It's a little frustrating because I had a good lap going. I think we'll do well tomorrow. The track is the same as last year, really. The conditions are pretty hot and it's slippery. Lack of grip is the biggest problem for us right now. But I'm sure everyone is fighting the same thing. Getting a clear lap is also tough."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (6th with a lap-time of 60.369 seconds / 91.060 mph)

"My quick lap was the combination of me pushing hard and the KOOL car working well. After my last stop there, I went off when I hit one of the bumps pretty hard. I had tried a different line and hit this big bump. My feet came off the pedals, I slid the car and I kind of flat-spotted the tires. I went back out again to try to get back into the rhythm of things. The tires were very good. Firestone has done a good job because my quick time was on my fifth or sixth lap [while on his second set of tires] and the tires were still there and strong. I think there's more to come. I'm more comfortable with the car now, I'm more comfortable with the track and I feel I can push harder. Tomorrow, we'll be right up there."

Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney was eighth in provisional qualifying today in preparation for Saturday's 45-lap KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race. Gurney completed the 10-turn street circuit in 1:09.213 seconds (87.290 mph).

Buddy Rice won the provisional pole with a time of 1:07.968 seconds (88.983 mph). Anthony Lazzaro, this year's champion after clinching at Laguna Seca, was second quickest with a time of 1:08.099 seconds (88.812 mph). Andrew Bordin was third fastest with a time of 1:08.111 seconds (88.796 mph).

Final qualifying is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Central Time. Sunday's race is set for a 12:30 p.m.

ALEX GURNEY, #27 Team KOOL Green Toyota/Swift: (8th with a lap-time of 1:09.213. seconds / 87.290 mph)

"I think we had a pretty good balance with the KOOL car. The traffic was murder. A lot of times, I was cruising around trying to find a gap. I had a real hard time with traffic at the end of the session when the fuel was low, which is normally when you go fast. I don't think I put my best lap forward. It's a little disappointing, but we've seen worse. The car is still a little nervous on the entry of turns, but I think we made big gains in this session."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Gurney , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Anthony Lazzaro , Buddy Rice , Andrew Bordin , Naoki Hattori