Lexington, OH (August 8, 1998) - Dario Franchitti will start from the pole position for tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Franchitti qualified his Team KOOL Green Reynard Honda at a speed of 123.766 mph,...
Lexington, OH (August 8, 1998) - Dario Franchitti will start from the pole position for tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Franchitti qualified his Team KOOL Green Reynard Honda at a speed of 123.766 mph, bettering Bryan Herta's track record of 122.977 mph set yesterday.
Franchitti earned $10,000 in the Marlboro Pole Award program and stands to win $310,000 if he can win tomorrow's race from the pole.
"We knew the lap was there, Franchitti said. "The Team KOOL Green guys have been working very hard all weekend. It was just a matter of putting it all together on one lap. It's a very difficult track where the car is good in some corners and not so good in others."
Team KOOL Green owner Barry Green was pleased with Dario's performance. "A brilliant effort. I was impressed with the laps he put together this morning on full tanks. That made me feel good about the chances of Dario improving his position in qualifying," Green said.
Mid-Ohio is Franchitti's third FedEx Championship Series pole in 1998. He was also the fastest qualifier at the Rio 400 and Toronto this year. "It makes my job a little bit easier because I'm starting at the front," Franchitti said. "It's a lot easier winning a race from the pole than it is from tenth on the grid."
Jimmy Vasser will start alongside Franchitti on the front row. This is Vasser's third front row start in the last four races. "This morning we made changes to the race car that put us in a good direction," Vasser said. "The car was pretty good throughout qualifying, then we made a front damper adjustment that put us in the right direction. I'm pretty happy to be on the front row".
Bryan Herta, the provisional polesitter, lowered his time from yesteday yet ended up third on the grid for tomorrow's race. "I'm disappointed we didn't get pole today," Herta said. "I had a good lap on my first set of tires and I felt we could go faster at the end of the session."
Herta waited in the pits, saving his second set of tires until Franchitti and Vasser relegated him to third. Late in the session, Herta improved on his time but not on his position. On a last minute effort to regain the pole, Herta went wide on the top of the hill at turn eight. This left him off-line for ther right-hander at nine and he spun off course, sealing the pole for Franchitti.
"I had a couple of really good laps going but I made a mistake on each lap," Herta explained. "I was really letting it all hang out. I went after it with everything I had. The track had more grip today and I felt I could get the pole from Dario".
Bobby Rahal starts in his last race at Mid-Ohio tomorrow. a track that brings back many fond memories for the two time CART series champion. "I won the Lumberman's race here; I've won IMSA races here; I've won SCCA races here; I've won Championship Car races here," Rahal said. "I have great memories of this track."
"I'm not sure I'll get misty," Rahal commented on his last ride at Mid-Ohio, "but I'm not making any guarantees".
The FedEx Championship Series race takes the green flag at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow for 83 laps around the 2.258 mile road course.