CHAMPCAR/CART: Kanaan eighth at Houston provisional qualifying

Dario Franchitti scored the provisional pole during qualifying for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, round 18 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Franchitti, runner-up in last year's race to teammate Paul Tracy, posted a quick lap...

Dario Franchitti scored the provisional pole during qualifying for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, round 18 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Franchitti, runner-up in last year's race to teammate Paul Tracy, posted a quick lap of 59.434 seconds (92.493 mph) on the 1.527-mile temporary street circuit. Final qualifying Saturday afternoon will set the grid for Sunday's 100-lap contest.

Tony Kanaan put his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes in eighth position on the provisional grid with a hot lap of 60.053 seconds (91.539 seconds). Kanaan had a podium finish at this race as a CART rookie in 1998.

"The track is very slippery today -- just look at how many guys went off today. It's very bumpy, so it's very easy to lock the wheels and off you go. It happened to me when Dario went off in front of me at the end of this session. On this track, it's really just a matter of putting together one good lap time.

"We made some changes from this morning which improved the car, so I have to thank my team for a good job. Morris (Nunn, team owner) had his magic touch today. And my Mercedes engine performed great for me -- the whole Mercedes crew is working very hard and is determined to end the year on a high note. Tomorrow is another day, so we'll go back and work some more. Like my team manager, Brad Filby, says, 'I'm greedy and I want more.'"

Mark Blundell had several off-course excursions in his Motorola Mercedes during the 30-minute session. His best lap of 60.741 seconds (90.502 mph) put him 17th on the provisional grid. Michel Jourdain Jr. lapped the circuit in 61.158 seconds (89.885 mph) and was 20th. Mauricio Gugelmin was clocked in 62.189 mph (88.395 mph) and stands 24th, while Luiz Garcia Jr., making his first CART career appearance at Houston, is 25th (65.393 seconds/84.064 mph). Final qualifying begins Saturday at 1:45 p.m. CT, and the green flag for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix waves Sunday at 3:00 p.m. CT. Provisional Qualifying, Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix Houston, Texas Sept. 29, 2000

<pre> Pos. Driver Engine Time (sec) Speed (mph) 1 Dario Franchitti Honda 59.434 92.493 2 Jimmy Vasser Toyota 59.631 92.187 3 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 59.634 92.182 4 Kenny Brack Ford Cosworth 59.650 92.158 5 Helio Castroneves Honda 59.663 92.138 6 Gil de Ferran Honda 59.692 92.093 7 Juan Montoya Toyota 59.998 91.623 8 Tony Kanaan Mercedes-Benz 60.053 91.539 9 Paul Tracy Honda 60.163 91.372 10 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 60.177 91.351 17 Mark Blundell Mercedes-Benz 60.741 90.502 20 Michel Jourdain Jr. Mercedes-Benz 61.158 89.885 24 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 62.189 88.395 25 Luiz Garcia Jr. Mercedes-Benz 65.393 84.064

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr. , Mo Nunn