CHAMPCAR/CART: Juan Montoya gets Detroit pole in tiebreaker

DETROIT (June 17, 2000) - It took a tiebreaker, but Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing will start on the pole for the fourth consecutive FedEx Championship Series event at Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit following a ...

DETROIT (June 17, 2000) - It took a tiebreaker, but Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing will start on the pole for the fourth consecutive FedEx Championship Series event at Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit following a thrilling qualifying matchup with Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green at The Raceway on Belle Isle Saturday.

Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) and Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) matched track-record lap speeds of 115.604 miles per hour (1 minute, 13.056 seconds) on the 2.346-mile temporary street circuit. The tie was resolved - as defined by the CART Rule Book - by matching each driver's second-fastest lap: 115.915 mph (1:13.316) for Montoya to 115.139 mph (1:13.352) for Franchitti.

The track record established by Montoya, the defending FedEx Championship Series and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, bettered the old track standard of 114.859 mph (1:13.530) established by Greg Moore in 1998. The championship point earned by Montoya moved him into sole possession of fourth place in the FedEx Championship Series drivers' standings, with 45 points, breaking a tie with Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola).

The pole, the 11th of Montoya's career, moved him into sole possession of ninth place in the CART career pole list, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser, Tom Sneva and Johnny Rutherford. Sunday's start will mark his fourth consecutive from the pole. The run includes poles at Japan, Nazareth and Milwaukee.

Franchitti's outside pole position matched a season-best start established at Milwaukee. He is the defending event champion, who also finished runner-up to Montoya in last year's FedEx Championship Series championship.

Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske qualified third at 115.353 mph (1:13.215). He matched a season-best start established at Nazareth while making a career-best start in three appearances at Detroit.

Castroneves' teammate, Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), qualified fourth at 115.141mph (1:13.350). He was followed by provisional pole-sitter Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal, fifth at 114.861 mph (1:13.529).

FedEx Championship Series points leader Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green qualified 20th at 112.370 mph (1:15.159). He holds a 59-52 lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing, who qualified 10th at 113.311 mph (1:14.535).

Sunday's seventh round of the championship will be televised live by ESPN, beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

JUAN MONTOYA, Target Toyota Lola: "Yesterday was a big shame because we couldn't use our second set of tires. This morning when we put on the second set, right out of the box we were really fast. When Kenny hit the wall I was a little surprised that they threw the red flag because he made it to the pits. When I got around the track I saw nothing and I said 'Well thank you very much.' When I came in we didn't do any changes. I knew the car had potential, but it was actually sliding around a bit. I slowed it down and got control and then just gave it everything I had."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "I didn't get any points, unfortunately. Like they say, you can't get any closer. This morning the car just didn't have what was required to run up front. I talked to my engineers, Steve Challis and Tino Belli, and told them what I need to fix it and they did it. (On Juan) Obviously, we run different cars with different engines. You make a lot of decisions, when to turn, when to brake, there are an infinite number of things that determine where you wind up. To tie absolutely like that is luck more than anything."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "We ran very good this morning and we were working really hard to find every single space on the track to go fast. I'm very happy to be starting where I am. Everyone says that starting position is very important here. We'll just keep cool and tomorrow look to finish in the points."

Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing has qualified third or better for each of this season's seven FedEx Championship Series events, and for nine of the past 10, dating to last season's pole at Houston. Included are poles this year at Nazareth, Japan and Milwaukee, in addition to Saturday's pole-winning effort. In 27 starts, Montoya has 11 poles for a 40.8 percent clip.

Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) has qualified fourth or better for 13 of his past 15 starts on temporary street circuits, dating to an outside pole at Cleveland in 1998. Included are poles at Toronto, Vancouver and Australia in 1998 and at Australia last year.

Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard) qualified sixth at 114.787 mph (1:13.576). It matched a career-best start established at Homestead in his FedEx Championship Series career debut last year, and eclipses a career-best road start of 10th established at Australia last year.

Mo Nunn driver Tony Kanaan's condition was upgraded from its initial diagnosis immediately following his single-car incident in qualifying. Kanaan does not have a punctured lung following further examination at Detroit Receiving Hospital, according to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs. Olvey said that Kanaan sustained a compound fracture of the left forearm, two rib fractures on the left side and a minor concussion. According to Olvey, Kanaan will have an operation on his forearm at Detroit Receiving and would more than likely be released late Sunday or early Monday. Kanaan will return to his home in Miami, and Olvey indicated that this type of injury usually requires six to eight weeks of recovery. Mo Nunn Racing made a decision to withdraw the entry from Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit due to the injury to Kanaan.

This weekend, during Round 7 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, CART kicked off the 2nd annual CART Charities Holiday Sticker Program. Design pages were handed out during CART's All-Driver Autograph Session on Saturday afternoon, as well as the CART Licensed Products (CLP) Merchandise Trailer. This year's program is open to children 14 years of age and younger. Children may enter the contest by submitting an original design for the 2000 CART Charities Holiday Sticker. A panel of 10 judges from the CART community will evaluate the entries. Two winners will be selected and each will receive a $1,000 United States Savings Bond.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bobby Unser , Tom Sneva , Chip Ganassi , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta , Johnny Rutherford , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing