CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Saturday Mercedes-Benz notes

Canadian Paul Tracy dominated the competition Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, taking the pole position for Sunday's Michigan 500 on his final qualifying lap in record time. Tracy's lap in 30.645 seconds (234.949 mph) shattered Jimmy...

Canadian Paul Tracy dominated the competition Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, taking the pole position for Sunday's Michigan 500 on his final qualifying lap in record time. Tracy's lap in 30.645 seconds (234.949 mph) shattered Jimmy Vasser's 1996 mark to set a new qualifying track record at the two-mile superspeedway.

For the second consecutive day, PacWest Motorola Mercedes driver Mark Blundell led the five-car Mercedes-Benz contingent. Blundell endured some mechanical problems in the morning session and could not equal his top-10 time from Friday's practice. He will start 17th (31.780 seconds/226.558 mph).

"We've had our fair share of troubles so far this weekend, but 500 miles is a long way to go," said Blundell, who finished on the podium at Michigan in 1997. "You need a consistent race car underneath you, and I think we'll have that tomorrow."

Tony Kanaan, the defending race champion, returned to the cockpit of his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes for his first qualifying run since a crash at the Detroit Grand Prix on June 17. Kanaan posted a lap of 31.835 seconds (226.166 mph) and will start on the ninth row.

"My arm and ribs are fine," said the Brazilian pilot, who had surgery following the crash to repair a broken left forearm and four fractured ribs. "Even though they are still broken, I've had no problems at all this weekend. It is very exciting to me to be back in my race car, especially at the place where I won my first Champ Car race. We hope we can get back some of our momentum, but we still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow."

Mauricio Gugelmin lapped the superspeedway in 31.909 seconds (225.642 mph), putting his Nextel Mercedes in 20th position on the grid. Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports pilot Michel Jourdain Jr. qualified 22nd (32.175 seconds/223.776 mph), while Luiz Garcia Jr. (Hollywood/Arciero Project Racing Group Mercedes) will start 23rd.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr. , Mo Nunn