Tracy 9th, Franchitti 11th in final qualifying at Mid-Ohio. LEXINGTON, Ohio - The Team KOOL Green duo of Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will start 9th and 11th, respectively, for tomorrow's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio after both drivers fought...
Tracy 9th, Franchitti 11th in final qualifying at Mid-Ohio.
LEXINGTON, Ohio - The Team KOOL Green duo of Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will start 9th and 11th, respectively, for tomorrow's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio after both drivers fought a lack of grip on a slippery track in hot temperatures during today's final qualifying session. Franchitti tried a slightly different strategy by going out a bit earlier than has become the norm in qualifying, in order to avoid traffic, but lack of rubber on the slick surface negated the effort. He and teammate Tracy both went out late in the session but the grip problems, a common complaint today, hampered their efforts to improve their lap times.
Although the order was shuffled, the top three remained the same as in provisional qualifying. For the second straight day, Patrick Carpentier led the way and earned a second championship point by taking the pole with a lap of 1:06.128 / 122.925 mph. Christian Fittipaldi will start second (1:06.263 / 122.675 mph) with Cristiano da Matta third (1:06.394 / 1222.433 mph). TKG technical partner Michael Andretti qualified 8th at 1:06.822 / 121.649 mph.
Champ Car drivers have a 30-minute warm-up tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio starts at 12:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CBS. (All times EDT.)
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"We're in a bit of trouble. Starting in ninth is not a position where you can really afford to do anything strategy-wise - we're not at the front, we're not at the back so it's going to be a hard race. The best we can hope for is attrition and see where we end up at the finish, and try to get some points. We waited to go out because the track was slow. When Dario went out (earlier in the session), he was two seconds off the pace. You have to wait, you can't go out. If you go out, you're going to use your first set of tires for nothing. The car doesn't have grip when it's hot like this, which is something Team KOOL Green has to figure out with the Lola. When the temperature comes up some of the other guys are going faster but we're not."
Steve Challis - Chief Engineer
"I think waiting was a wise decision. The problem is, we have an hour session but there's really only about 20 minutes where this particular track is any good. The Grand Am Cup cars were out before us, and we need to get our rubber down before the track any good. We all thought we'd do better than ninth, but that's what we got. We're missing a little bit and we need to think carefully about it overnight and hopefully we'll have the answer tomorrow. I'm not sure yet what our strategy will be. It's hard to get off strategy at this track and it's a hard place to pass, too, so we've got our work cut out for us. But it's a physical track and Paul is in top condition, so with attrition I still think we can get a top-five or better."
Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"The track was like an ice skating rink on my first set of tires and it was just a waste of time because the track was so slick. On the second set of tires I got all I could out of the car but it seemed the harder I pushed the KOOL car the worse it got. This is obviously not to my liking but we are going to sit down and look at it tonight and see what we can do."
Kyle Moyer - Team KOOL Green Team Manager
"I'm a little confused right now. It doesn't seem like we have the same car we tested here in May and we can't seem to find the right setup. One of the teams we tested with has a car sitting on the pole so there's something we haven't quite figured out. We have too much understeer in the KOOL car and the track keeps on changing. I made a mistake sending Dario out too early and the track was just too slippery, which hurt us on our first set of tires. Hopefully we'll get an early yellow during the race so we can get on a different strategy and snooker some people."