Tony Kanaan and his ...
Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start Sunday's Michigan 500 from the inside of the third row after rain washed out today's scheduled qualifying session and prompted CART officials to grid cars based on today's morning practice times. Kanaan recorded a fast lap of 31.626 seconds (an average of 227.661 mph) in practice this morning around the 2-mile Michigan Speedway tri-oval, the fifth-best lap of the day. It will be, by far, Kanaan's best starting position at this historic oval, at which CART is competing for the final time this weekend. Kanaan started 18th last year, 11th in 1999, when he scored his first Champ Car victory, and 20th in his Rookie of the Year season of 1998.
Only seven drivers were able to complete their single-car qualifying runs before the rains came. According to CART rules, if all competitors are not able to qualify, then the chief steward has the option of gridding cars according to the current championship points standings, or by the most recent official practice session.
Mo Nunn Racing teammate Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Honda-Reynard will start 14th on Sunday. Zanardi's fast practice lap today was a 31.893-second (225.755 mph) effort. Kenny Brack will start from the pole after recording a lap of 31.330 seconds (229.812 mph). Team Rahal teammate Max Papis will start alongside in the second spot after a lap of 31.483 seconds (228.695 mph). Tora Takagi will start third by virtue of his 31.591-second (227.913 mph) lap today.
Race time Sunday is 1:30 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast set for ABC-TV. The Sunday-morning warm-up show CART2DAY can be seen on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. EDT.
"I'd like to say I'm ecstatic about starting fifth, but I honestly believe I had a car that was capable of qualifying even better than that. But, hey, it's better than 13th, which is where I am in the points standings right now. I may not be happy, but it's the same for everybody, so we'll do our best with what we've got. I have a very good race car. The guys did an excellent job of giving me car that runs well in traffic. That will be very important here tomorrow. I think I will be able to run competitive laps without putting too many demands on the car. We'll do our best to save our equipment and stay out of trouble for the first 400 miles, and then we'll go racing. I'm feeling pretty good about this one."