Juan Montoya earned the pole position for the second consecutive year for Sunday's Motorola 300, besting teammate Jimmy Vasser and 23 competitors with a qualifying lap of 25.353 seconds (180.334 mph) on the 1.27-mile Gateway International...
Juan Montoya earned the pole position for the second consecutive year for Sunday's Motorola 300, besting teammate Jimmy Vasser and 23 competitors with a qualifying lap of 25.353 seconds (180.334 mph) on the 1.27-mile Gateway International Raceway oval. It was the sixth pole of the season for the 1999 CART champion, and his fourth this year on a short-oval track.
Tony Kanaan was the highest-qualifying Mercedes driver, putting his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing machine in sixth position on the grid with a time of 25.561 seconds (178.866 mph) on the first of two flying laps. It was another stout showing on a short oval for Kanaan, who finished in the top 10 at Nazareth, Pa., and Milwaukee and qualified third at Chicago.
"When you have a guy like Morris (Nunn, team owner) engineering your car, life is pretty good," said Kanaan. "My car has been very quick all weekend, but I got a little greedy on the second lap and tried too hard -- and that cost us. But I like this race track and I like my chances tomorrow."
PacWest Motorola Mercedes Mark Blundell qualified 20th with a lap in 26.154 seconds (174.811 mph).
"We had a constructive day today, but there was still far too much understeer in the car for qualifying," said the British driver. "There's a quicker car under there, so we'll see what we can put together in warm-up tomorrow to be ready for the race." Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports driver Michel Jourdain Jr. starts 21st (26.377 seconds/173.333 mph). Mauricio Gugelmin posted a qualifying time of 25.713 seconds (177.809 mph) which would have put him in 11th position. However, his PacWest Nextel Mercedes-Benz Champ Car was disqualified in the post-qualifying technical inspection for being five pounds lighter than CART's minimum required weight of 1,550 pounds. As a result, Gugelmin will start from the rear of the grid. Luiz Garcia Jr. (Hollywood/Arciero Project Racing Group Mercedes-Benz) will start in 25th position after Garcia Jr.'s car was found to infringe on CART's "two-inch rule" during post-qualifying inspection, meaning the undertray of the race car was too close to the ground. The green flag for the Motorola 300 waves at 1:30 p.m. CT Sunday (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m. ET).