CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid-Ohio Saturday Report

David Reininger - motorsport.com Lexington, OH (August 14, 1999) - The names have changed but the times remain the same from yesterday's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Mark Blundell will...

David Reininger - motorsport.com

Lexington, OH (August 14, 1999) - The names have changed but the times remain the same from yesterday's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Mark Blundell will be sent to the rear of the grid after having his Friday time disallowed with Paul Tracy inheriting his position on the inside of the second row.

Persistent rain throughout the day kept the 2.258-mile road course damp for both CART FedEx Champ car sessions. With most drivers comfortable with the setup on their cars, only 12 drivers took to the track in this morning's practice session.

Paul Tracy moved into third on the grid when Mark Blundell's time from yesterday was disallowed. The No. 18 Motorola Mercedes-Benz did not pass post-qualifying technical inspection (the car did not have the required inch clearance). The Pac West team made an engine change prior to Friday's provisional qualifying and did not have enough time to re-tech the car.

"My guys did a great job changing the engine in a very short time," said Blundell. "It's just unfortunate that we caught some more bad luck."

Starting on the pole is Dario Franchitti, driver of the Team Kool Green Honda Reynard. This is Franchitti's second consecutive pole at Mid-Ohio. Only two drivers have scored consecutive poles in the 18 year history of the race at Mid-Ohio. Michael Andretti scored three consecutive poles from 1990 through 1992.

Starting alongside Franchitti, will be Bryan Herta, driver of the Team Rahal Shell car. Neither driver is looking for a repeat of last year's start, which saw the pair ending their day at the first turn.

"Hopefully we won't have happen what happened last year," said Franchitti. "It's difficult to pass here so it would be nice to stay out front all day. This year, I'm going to get through that first corner and get on with the rest of the race. I'm not going to concede anything to Bryan at the start. I aim to be leading after the first corner."

Paul Tracy, Franchitti's teammate at Team Kool Green, still has his sights on the championship despite missing the first race of the season at Homestead. "Staying up front is the name of the game," said Tracy. "I'm looking for some big points."

"It's getting later in the year. Points now, are critical," Tracy said. "Missing the first race definitely hurt the championship. And then we had some bad luck from there out. For a couple of races we didn't score any points."

But the tide has turned. Tracy has now scored points in seven consecutive races.

"Right now we're just kind of riding that wave. We've got to really concentrate on the details, concentrate on what we do in our testing and not make any mistakes."

Following round six at Gateway, Tracy was 13th in the points, currently he's fourth.

The Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course takes the green flag at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 15, for 83 laps around the 2.258-mile road course.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell