LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 11, 2000) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske tied the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course qualifying record Friday while capturing the provisional pole for Sunday's Miller Lite 200. De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), whose...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 11, 2000) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske tied the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course qualifying record Friday while capturing the provisional pole for Sunday's Miller Lite 200.
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), whose best start in five career appearances at Mid-Ohio is fourth in 1997, matched the track record of 124.394 miles per hour (1 minute, 5.347 seconds) established by Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green last year. De Ferran will seek his third pole of the season and the eighth of his career when final qualifying begins 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday.
De Ferran's effort led a one-two performance by Marlboro Team Penske during provisional qualifying as Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske) was second-fastest at 124.366 mph (1:05.362). The Penske effort recalled that team's performance during a two-day CART Open Test at Mid-Ohio in June, when de Ferran and Castroneves, respectively, were the two fastest drivers.
Castroneves, like his teammate, is seeking his third pole of the season as well as his fourth front-row start of the campaign.
Franchitti was third fastest at 123.318 mph (1:05.971). He is the two-time defending pole sitter at Mid-Ohio, having also led the field to the green flag in 1998, prior to establishing the track record last year.
Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing was fourth fastest at 122.920 mph (1:06.131). He was followed by rookie Kenny Brack of Team Rahal, fifth fastest at 122.575 mph (1:06.317).
FedEx Championship Series leader Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing qualified ninth on the provisional grid at 122.005 mph (1:06.627). Andretti holds a 120-98 lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) in championship points heading into the weekend.
Moreno was 22nd fastest Friday at 118.210 mph (1:08.766).
GIL DE FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "It was a little too exciting of a qualifying session for my liking. We had a few problems this morning and the guys got them fixed just before qualifying. The car was good on the first set of tires, but I got more comfortable on my second set and that's when I did my time. A track like this slowly keeps improving. There's no reason to get too excited today because I think speeds will be a lot faster tomorrow if all things are equal."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The car's been pretty good. When we rolled it off the truck, the car was good. We tested here and didn't make too many changes. The team has come up with a few changes and Reynard has come up with some changes, so the car's getting pretty good. We had a good test at Road America last week, and it's been good here so far. I had a little problem this morning and I'm not going to go into too much detail, but I'm pretty happy. The guys are going to be burning the midnight oil tonight to catch these guys [Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves]."
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) will be seeking his third pole of the season during final qualifying Saturday. He owns previous poles at Homestead and Long Beach and has qualified among the top five drivers for nine of 12 starts this season.
Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) is seeking his fourth front-row start of the season, as well as his fourth in six events. His previous three front-row efforts have come at Portland and Toronto, where he sat on the pole, and at Chicago, where he started second.
Two-time defending Mid-Ohio polesitter Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) is seeking a season-best start, improving on second at Milwaukee and Detroit.
Qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 will air midnight ET Sunday (late Saturday) on ESPN2.