Milwaukee: Player's Forsythe Team Sweeps Front Row Milwaukee, WI -- Patrick Carpentier continued his outstanding qualifying performances on one-mile ovals Saturday when he earned his second career pole position in track record fashion for...
Milwaukee: Player's Forsythe Team Sweeps Front Row
Milwaukee, WI -- Patrick Carpentier continued his outstanding qualifying performances on one-mile ovals Saturday when he earned his second career pole position in track record fashion for Sunday's Miller Lite 200 at the historic Milwaukee Mile.
Carpentier completed a sweep of the pole positions at both Nazareth Speedway and The Mile when he averaged 185.500 miles per hour (20.028 seconds) to earn the top starting spot for Sunday's seventh round of the FedEx Championship Series (1:30 p.m. ET, live ESPN).
For the second time this season, Player's Forsythe Racing swept the front row as Greg Moore (Player's/Indeck Reynard Mercedes) qualified second at 184.817 mph (20.102 seconds). The other sweep came at Nazareth in Round 4.
Andre Ribeiro (Marlboro Penske Mercedes) qualified third at 184.487 mph (20.138 seconds). The top three drivers broke the track qualifying record of 184.286 mph (20.160 sec.) set by Paul Tracy last year and less than one second separated the top 24 starters in the 26-car field.
Carpentier, who earned a PPG Cup point for the pole, will be racing for a potential purse of $330,000 this weekend, which consists of the $100,000 first-place prize and an additional $230,000 from the Marlboro Pole Award for.
Carpentier collected $20,000 of that for winning the pole, $10,000 of which rolled over from last week's rained out qualifying session at the Motorola 300. He could claim the additional $210,000, which has rolled over at a rate of $15,000 per event since Alex Zanardi's (Target Reynard Honda) victory at Cleveland last July, with a triumph Sunday.
"We struggled a bit yesterday, so we switched cars for today and it was so much better," said Carpentier, who has qualified fourth or better for all four of his career starts on one-mile ovals. "My engineer [Lee Dykstra] made some changes [for qualifying] and the car was even better than it was this morning. I just had to drive it; it was hooked up at the front and rear."
Moore's outside pole position was his fourth front-row start in seven events this season. In his past 13 oval track appearances, dating to the 1996 Marlboro 500 at Michigan Speedway, his average starting position has been 4.1, including 10 starts among the top five. He also is the defending race champion, having emerged victorious last season to become the youngest winner in CART history.
"We went out yesterday in the backup car and in six laps we did a 21.5 [second lap]," said Moore, who trails Zanardi, 87-85, for the PPG Cup championship lead entering Sunday's race. "Then we went out in the primary car and it took us more than 20 laps to get down to 21.5. I went to my engineer [Steve Challis] and said 'Let's change cars.'
"This has been a good car for us. We won at Rio, finished second at Miami and third last weekend [at Gateway] in this car. We decided that if we were going to defend our championship as the race winner, we should do it in this car."
Ribeiro will make his second-best start of the season, following a second-place qualifying effort in the season opener at Homestead.
"To be honest, I was not expecting this big a jump [from practice to qualifying speed]," said Ribeiro, who improved nearly five miles per hour from his best practice lap to qualifying. "It's really unbelievable the difference a few miles per hour and a few tenths makes. I really believe we are headed in the right direction. I believe this car will be competitive in the very near future. This shows the potential that we do have. This series is so competitive that if you are off even a little bit, it makes a huge difference."
Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford) qualified fourth at 184.057 mph (20.185 sec.), followed by Jimmy Vasser (Target Reynard Honda) at 183.385 mph (20.259). Andretti is a five-time winner at The Milwaukee Mile (1986, '87, '91, '92 and '96) while Vasser has scored PPG Cup points by finishing among the top 12 in all five of his career starts at Milwaukee.
Zanardi, the PPG Cup points leader and defending series champion, qualified ninth at 181.459 mph (20.474 seconds).
Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf made the Marlboro Pole Award presentation to Carpentier following qualifying.
CART 2Day airs 1 p.m. ET Sunday, on ESPN2, one-half hour prior to ESPN's live race broadcast.
Source: CART Online