Miami (October 5, 2002)Â --Â Â A rainy Saturday afternoon dampened Team Motorola's hopes of moving up the starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas on the streets of downtown Miami. Â Intermittent showers created wet track conditions for...
Miami (October 5, 2002) -- A rainy Saturday afternoon dampened Team Motorola's hopes of moving up the starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas on the streets of downtown Miami. Intermittent showers created wet track conditions for the weekend's final qualifying period and eliminated any team's chance of improving on the fastest time set by Tony Kannan in Friday qualifying. Team Motorola set its sights on winning a front row starting position and played a waiting game early in the session. As the track began to dry out, the team tweaked the setup on Andretti's #39 Team Motorola-Honda-Lola- Bridgestone. On his second trip around the 1.387-mile temporary street course Andretti turned the fastest lap run to that point. When a late red flag waved, Andretti appeared to have an advantage and would be the last driver to complete a lap on a track that was at its driest. But while the strategy was ambitious, the Team Motorola car didn't handle as well as expected, and Andretti was forced to settle for 14th quickest time of the session with a best lap of 1:15.396 seconds (66.226 mph).
Scott Dixon posted the quickest lap of the session (1:09.786 seconds/71.550 mph) and will hold on to his second place starting position. Tony Kanaan retained his pole position of 1:01.264 seconds (81.503 mph) given the wet track conditions. Team Motorola technical partners Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy will start seventh and 16th respectively.
The 105-lap Grand Prix Americas will take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. EDT and will be shown on CBS Sports on a live and tape-delay basis.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone "We sat in the pit and watched the early part of session. The track started to dry out which played right into our hands. When I went out on my first run I set the quickest lap of the session at that time, so I was feeling confident. I think I was on an even quicker lap when the red flag came out. It's disappointing because with the strategy we had planned there was a possibility of us starting on the front row. It definitely would have been to our advantage to turn the last lap in qualifying but we didn't get it. The race is going to be so tough, the track is really tight. Team Motorola will have to make up some positions on pit lane."
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 celebrated his 40th birthday today.
Kim Green -- General Manager
"CART's qualifying rules certainly made today interesting for the fans. In the old set of rules, with the track as wet as it was, everyone would have just sat on pit lane. Team Motorola's strategy was to time it so we would be the last car on the track to complete a lap. I think we almost got it right but the car just wasn't quite where we needed to have it, it was a handful out there for Michael. It was certainly worth going for that championship point and especially the front row starting spot. We have our work cut out for us tomorrow starting from 14th place, but that does give us an opportunity to change our strategy a little bit. I think we will see some incidents in the low grip areas. Hopefully we can take advantage of opportunities to move up towards the front."