CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira gets Elkhart Lake pole, then crashes

Bruno Junqueira took the pole for tomorrow's 220-mile CART race at Road America with a lap of 1:42.151 seconds (142.659 mph.) Bruno turned the fast time just before the checkered flag waved to end the session. As yesterday's provisional pole ...

Bruno Junqueira took the pole for tomorrow's 220-mile CART race at Road America with a lap of 1:42.151 seconds (142.659 mph.) Bruno turned the fast time just before the checkered flag waved to end the session. As yesterday's provisional pole winner Cristiano da Matta did not improve his time today, he will start outside of Junqueira on the front row.

Before Junqueira could park his car to wave the flag given to all pole winners, he was involved in a strange accident. Road America is unique in that the timing line is not at the start finish line, it is at the last turn of the track, turn 14. This allows drivers to get in another timed lap at the end of a session before going in the pits. Junqueira was making one last hot lap and was exiting Canada Corner (turn 12), when Shinji Nakano put the left two wheels of his car off the track just ahead of him. Nakano slowed to regain control of his car and Junqueira swerved right to avoid contact. The swerve caused Junqueira to spin into the tire barrier on the right side of the track. Junqueira's car was not severely damaged and the Ganassi Racing crew should be able to repair it for the start of the race.

Breaking with recent tradition, Tony Kanaan went out as soon as the green flag waved to start today's session. The plan backfired, because not only did Kanaan fail to go faster than any of the other drivers did the day before, but he blew the Honda engine in Mo Nunn's Lola before he completed his fifth lap. This was his second day of struggles as he had a harrowing crash yesterday, flying off the track in turn one after the rear wing became detached from the car. Fortunately, in yesterday's incident, he was unhurt and the car relatively undamaged considering the speed he was carrying when he left the course. The safety equipment in place outside of the fast turn, a sand and gravel trap ringed with rows of banded-tire barrier, did the job as designed.

The rest of the field followed past practice and the next car didn't take the course until half of the allotted hour had elapsed. Today, it was last week's winner at Mid-Ohio, Patrick Carpentier who was the first to head out after Kanaan's car was recovered. His Forsythe Racing teammate, Alexandre Tagliani, was the first to go faster than Kanaan's earlier time and put his name in for the single point and the front-row starting position that goes to the fastest driver in each qualifying session.

At the fifteen-minutes-remaining mark, another brief red flag segment was called to recover the car of Adrian Fernandez from the runoff outside of turn five where the series only owner/driver had stalled his Lola after a spin.

As the clock passed 10-to-go, provisional polesitter Cristiano da Matta turned the day's best time so far, although not yet as fast as his fast time from Friday. A few minutes later, Paul Tracy went faster, with the third-fastest time of the weekend to that point, and held the fastest time of the day until it was beaten by Junqueira's pole lap then by Tagliani's best lap of the weekend.

In the last three laps of the session, most of the drivers had eclipsed yesterday's times - by the end of the session, only da Matta, Dario Franchitti and Fernandez had filed to go faster today.

Tagliani and Tracy will make up row 2, followed by Scott Dixon, Franchitti, Kenny Brack, Fernandez, Oriol Servia and Nakano as the top ten starters.

The CART Grand Prix of Road America featuring the Motorola 220 will start at 2 pm (CDT) tomorrow, with live television coverage on SPEED Channel.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , ART Grand Prix