CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Andretti to start ninth

LONG BEACH, Calif., (April 7, 2001)---The rain played havoc with the second session of qualifying today on the shores of Long Beach. After the first group of qualifiers sailed through their 30-minute session on a dry track, a light rain began ...

LONG BEACH, Calif., (April 7, 2001)---The rain played havoc with the second session of qualifying today on the shores of Long Beach. After the first group of qualifiers sailed through their 30-minute session on a dry track, a light rain began before a lap was turned in the second group. After an exciting qualifying session with the positions and the weather changing by the moment, Andretti set a fast lap of 69.853-seconds/101.424 mph to qualify ninth for the start of tomorrow's Long Beach Grand Prix.

At the start of qualifications the rain was just enough to keep the track damp, but midway into the session the rain lightened up and Andretti made the call to switch to dry tires. The decision was the right one when Andretti went out and set the fastest time of the second group. The weather then began cooperating and the track began to dry which led to an exciting duel for the pole. Helio Castroneves turned a flying lap at the end of qualifications of 68.556-seconds/103.343 mph to eventually capture the pole. Kenny Brack followed with a time of 69.097-seconds/102.534 mph and Tony Kanaan filled in the top three at 69.223-seconds/102.348 mph. =20

The green flag for Sunday's race will fall at 1:00 p.m. PT. The race will be broadcast live on ABC.

Michael Andretti, No. 39 Motorola/Honda-Reynard

"I'm a little bit disappointed. We took a chance and went to slicks early trying to beat the weather and I think that was the right decision but we never got a truly clean lap in on a dry track. At the end of the session I was on a fast lap and got hung up in traffic so I felt I could have gotten a bit more out of the car had I gotten a clean lap. That's the key about Long Beach, there are only a few good spots to pass and the field is really competitive so you have to be right on to be in the front for the race. I like the car though; I think I have a good race car whether it's wet or dry on Sunday. The Team Motorola guys have done a good job on the set-up so it's comfortable and I'm ready to race."

Position: 9th

Time: 69.853 seconds/ 101.424 mph

Kim Green, Team Motorola General Manager

"It was certainly an exciting and tough qualifying session today. The damp conditions to start off were a challenge and I think Michael made a great call to come in and change to the dry tires. Michael was the first to go out on dry tires and then was the quickest of that group at that time. At the end of the session we didn't get the best out of the race car, traffic got in our way and really the last guy on the track with the drying conditions had the benefit. We'll take our starting position, I think we've got a great race car and knowing Michael Andretti we'll be in the hunt tomorrow."

- Jana Griffith

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Kim Green