BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 21, 2001) - Team Rahal's driving tandem of Kenny Brack and Max Papis claimed the front row for Sunday's Harrah's 500 at Michigan Speedway Saturday when rain wiped out the remainder of qualifying after seven of 26 cars had ...
BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 21, 2001) - Team Rahal's driving tandem of Kenny Brack and Max Papis claimed the front row for Sunday's Harrah's 500 at Michigan Speedway Saturday when rain wiped out the remainder of qualifying after seven of 26 cars had posted timed laps.
Due to the rainout, the starting grid for Sunday's 11th round of the FedEx Championship Series championship (1:30 p.m. ET, live, ABC-TV) will be based on times from Saturday morning practice. Brack (Shell Ford Lola), the FedEx Championship Series points leader, will start on the pole after posting a practice lap of 229.812 miles per hour (31.330 seconds) on the two-mile superspeedway oval.
Brack, who receives credit for his fourth pole of the season, holds an 84-73 lead over Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) of Team Motorola entering Sunday's event. Andretti will start 18th Sunday after a lap of 225.169 mph (31.976 seconds).
Papis will start alongside his Team Rahal teammate after a lap of 228.695 mph (31.483 seconds). He will make his second front-row start of the season, following a pole at Portland, where he drove to his second career FedEx Championship Series victory.
Rookie Tora Takagi (Pioneer/DENSO Special Toyota Reynard) of Walker Racing will start a career-best third following a lap of 227.913 mph (31.591 seconds). Takagi's best qualifying performance to date has been eighth at Cleveland, and his best on an oval is 18th at Nazareth.
Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green starts fourth after a practice lap of 227.783 mph (31.609 seconds). Tracy continues to hold the Michigan Speedway qualifying record of 234.949 mph (30.645 seconds), established while winning the pole here last year.
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing will start fifth on the grid after a lap of 227.661 mph (31.626 seconds). Kanaan recorded the only victory of his FedEx Championship Series career at Michigan Speedway in 1999, when Papis ran out of fuel two turns from the checkered flag while in the lead. KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Lola: "To me, I don't care which way we do it [establish the grid]. I'm leading in the points, so we're covered there, and we were fastest yesterday and this morning, so we're covered on that end. Unless they do it by a lottery system, it's not going to matter, I'm still going to be first.
"Today, I think we had a very strong possibility for the pole. I think it would have been very interesting, but I think we had a really, really good shot at the pole. The starting grid here is of little importance, because there wasn't a point for the pole, and coming out of Turn 2 tomorrow, there's going to be a traffic jam. You just have to think about what you're doing tomorrow."
MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Lola: "This is the first time I'm starting on the front row with 42 laps on my tires. Today, I ran all day trying to find a clear lap. We were covering our bases working on a good setup for qualifying. The 228 [mile-per-hour] lap was a good lap, and it's great that we're going to have a Team Rahal front row tomorrow. We have a pretty clear idea of how things are going to be. It's definitely going to be a different game. It's going to be very important to keep the switch on the brain on at all times. It's going to be important to stay sharp and let me win, because I'm the best! I want to congratulate Tora, I was watching him the last two days and he's done a great job. It's a team result, and it's good for all of the guys working on the cars and back in the shop. We've been working very hard to achieve our goals, and we should take it as a gift from God."
TORA TAKAGI, Pioneer/DENSO Special Toyota Reynard: "This is my first time on a superspeedway, and I had no idea on Friday. This track, for me, I'm almost flat in all corners. This is my first time, and I have no idea what to expect. I want to finish the race and hopefully get a good result."
* Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) earned his fourth pole of the season, and his second without posting a qualifying time. His previous pole positions came at Mexico, Texas and Milwaukee. He earned the pole at Milwaukee, where qualifying was also rained out, based on leading the championship.
* Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Lola) will make his best start on an oval since winning the pole at Chicago Motor Speedway in 1999. He matched his career-best start on a superspeedway, established at California Speedway in 1999.
* According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, rookie driver Max Wilson (winner B2B.com / Arciero/Blair Racing Ford Lola) of Arciero/Blair Racing sustained multiple bruised ribs on his left side following a single car accident in Turn 2 during practice Saturday morning. Wilson was treated and released from Foote Hospital following the accident, and his entry was withdrawn from Sunday's Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota.
CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 1:30 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN, and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and CART's official website, at www.cart.com .