Miami (October 4, 2002)Â --Â Â Friday's opening practice session for this weekend's Grand Prix Americas gave Team Motorola and driver Michael Â Andretti a great deal to look forward to. After posting the fifth quickest time in the...
Miami (October 4, 2002) -- Friday's opening practice session for this weekend's Grand Prix Americas gave Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti a great deal to look forward to. After posting the fifth quickest time in the opening practice, Andretti was optimistic about his chances of placing in the top three in the first of two qualifying periods on the 1.387-mile temporary street course in downtown Miami. However, a loose wheel on his #39 Team Motorola Honda- Lola-Bridgestone caused the veteran to lose control of his car on his opening lap of the qualifying period forcing him into the tire barrier. The incident, which brought out a red flag, caused Andretti to give up his quickest lap of the qualifying period and he was forced to settle for 14th position with a best lap of 1:03.052 seconds (79.192 mph).
Tony Kanaan posted the quickest lap of the day and guaranteed himself a front row start in Sunday's race after marking a best lap of 1:01.264 seconds (81.503 mph). Scott Dixon was second quickest with a fast lap of 1:01.444 seconds (81.264 mph) while Tora Takagi rounded out the top three with a best lap of 1:02.039 seconds (80.485 mph).
Saturday's CART FedEx schedule opens with practice from 9:50 -- 11:00 a.m. EDT and will be followed with final qualifying from 1:15 -- 2:15 p.m. Speed Channel will carry qualifying live starting at 1:30 p.m.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"We lost a wheel on the race car before we even got a lap in. When we went to the spare car, the setup was different from the race car. It was a really disappointing afternoon. I think the Team Motorola car was good enough to get us in the top five so it's a bummer. To call this track challenging is an understatement. It's a very physical track and the hot weather is making it that much tougher." On his practice incident with Tony Kanaan during the morning session. "I thought he saw me and he didn't and when I went to go, it was too late. I couldn't do anything to avoid the contact. It was no big deal."
Sunday will be Michael's 306th start of his career
Michael leads all active Champ Car drivers with 305 race starts, 42 wins,
32 poles and 6564 laps led.
Michael celebrates his 40th birthday on Saturday.
Kim Green -- General Manager
"This is certainly disappointing. We thought the primary car was a good car and we certainly proved that this morning. Michael was happy with it. We are going to have to investigate what was wrong with the primary car and get that sorted out. The good thing about qualifying this season is that there are two sessions every weekend, so it is quite possible that we will re-qualify the primary car or make sure we get the backup car exactly how we like. We'll have the practice session in the morning to determine which car we want to qualify. It is a tough race track and a very physical one and of course our session wasn't helped when we lost our fastest lap for causing a red flag. We are a little bit quicker than 14th but we will have to work hard tomorrow."