CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Lola Friday report

Wild weather KO's Champ Car qualifying Tagliani leads top five Lola parade Severe storms swept eastern Wisconsin this evening, raining out 19 drivers' chance to earn fast lap in CART's first night qualifying session. The grid for Saturday...

Wild weather KO's Champ Car qualifying
Tagliani leads top five Lola parade

Severe storms swept eastern Wisconsin this evening, raining out 19 drivers' chance to earn fast lap in CART's first night qualifying session. The grid for Saturday night's Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 was set by combined practice times, handing top slot to Alex Tagliani and the #33 Johnson Controls Lola/Ford/Bridgestone car, quickest in the final practice at 20.882 seconds (177.914mph), 4/10ths up on Jourdain's best.

"We wanted to go fast this afternoon because, if it rained, then we would have pole," Tag explained. Yesterday, he believed he had the fastest car but couldn't show his hand as the red flag came out just as the Canadian was ready to attempt his quick lap. "There is high potential with the Lola to find the right setup," Tagliani said. "It is easier to make the car better" than the Reynard he previously used.

With his quick night lap of 21.040 seconds (176.578mph), Michel Jourdain Jr. lines up second in the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford. Jourdain turned only 20 laps in the windy, dry afternoon practice, yet earned his best career oval start. "Today we didn't want to make too many laps because the track changes from day to night and we knew the car would be different," Jourdain said.

Paul Tracy earns the third grid slot in his #3 Team Player's Lola/Ford (21.075sec/176.285mph) with his teammate Patrick Carpentier alongside in the #32 Team Player's Lola/Ford (21.146sec/175.693mph), both relying on their Thursday evening fast laps. Tracy again brushed the wall trying to beat Tagliani's time. "Everybody is disappointed because we want a good show for the fans. Quite frankly," Tracy admitted, "I'd rather be on track tonight because I know I could have done well."

Adrian Fernandez lines up fifth in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford at (21.155sec/175.618mph). Thursday night Fernandez "tried to put in a good time in case it rains tomorrow. I think we have a good plan and I feel good starting fifth for this race."

They key to tomorrow's first Champ Car night race, a 250-lap contest will be "to keep the handling good all night as the temperatures change," Tracy explained. "There may be two grooves (with the road course wings that deliver added downforce)," Tagliani agreed, "but you'll have to have speed to pass on the outside in the race." While the skies were wet tonight, clear and cool temperatures are forecast for the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 race at the oldest American oval, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

-lola cars-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Michel Jourdain