CHAMPCAR/CART: Kanaan takes Miami provisional pole

MIAMI (October 4, 2002) - Miami resident Tony Kanaan earned the provisional pole in qualifying for the Grand Prix Americas in downtown Miami. Kanaan trimmed nearly a full second from his best lap in the morning practice session, stopping the...

MIAMI (October 4, 2002) - Miami resident Tony Kanaan earned the provisional pole in qualifying for the Grand Prix Americas in downtown Miami. Kanaan trimmed nearly a full second from his best lap in the morning practice session, stopping the clocks at 1:01.590.

Third fastest in the morning session, Kanaan was on a flying lap when he was balked by traffic. "I had a good lap going and I caught traffic in the last two corners."

After analyzing the data, one of Kanaan's crew told him that his spoiled lap would have been a second quicker.

"(Team owner) Morris (Nunn) started to laugh really hard in the truck, so I had to do it again to show him."

Kanaan, who was given a layout of the circuit earlier this year, used his road car to get a feel for this weekend's event.

"I knew the track," said Kanaan. "I saw a layout back at Mid-Ohio and I did a few laps." After sampling the circuit, Kanaan told his crew "it's going to be like Denver.

"So we came with a very similar setup to Denver and we started from there. This morning I only changed the springs and I came back because it didn't work. After that it was just a matter of putting it together and getting the right lap."

"Obviously we had a good baseline because my Denver car was good, so we had a good car to start with."

Scott Dixon was second quickest on the day after recording a lap at 1:01.444. "Obviously this year has been kind of strange, but I think our street course setup is one of the ones we have sorted out the most," said Dixon, who was fastest in the morning practice.

Due to the tight circuit, Dixon has put a priority on qualifying well. "I think it's pretty much going to be where we qualify is where we're going to end up. It's going to be where most of your time is spent, trying to finish well in qualifying."

Tora Tagaki, fourth fastest on the day, was third fastest in qualifying. Tagaki, whose first language is Japanese, said he qualified with "good traffic," which translates to no traffic at all.

Paul Tracy, who was third fastest on the day, had problems in qualifying and ended up in 16th position. "We didn't get it right in qualifying. We were good in practice this morning and good during the qualifying warm-up. I went out on sticker tires and I spun in my first session this afternoon and lost our quick lap.

When I went out again the track went red and I couldn't get enough laps to make another quick run."

Cristiano Da Matta with six victories this season, is looking for a good qualifying run so he can take home his first CART championship. Da Matta, a Miami resident, clinches the championship if he scores ten more points than Bruno Junqueira. After qualifying sixth, Da Matta qualified complained about the track's lack of grip.

"Some of the areas are like driving on ice," Da Matta explained. "You didn't know what kind of grip to expect because the track is breaking up."

Portions of the circuit broke up so bad that repairs had to be made before CART and ALMS could run their qualifying sessions. CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel said the track's surface deteriorated due to a "combination of extreme heat and the pounding of awesome race cars."

Turns three, four, five and six, all of which are asphalt, took the brunt of the abuse. Operation crews will make repairs tonight, patching the worst areas with concrete.

Kneifel said that turns one, sixteen as well as a portion of turn two had experienced problems, indicating that concrete sections of the circuit had deteriorated too.

While race officials were confident the repairs would hold up, Kneifel said he'd keep an eye on the circuit during Saturday's two hour 45 minute American Le Mans race. With four classes on race cars in Saturday's race, each taking different lines through the corners, Kneifel was concerned about "additional problem areas."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan