Fernandez takes second pole of 2002 Cart Fedex Championship Series in qualifying for Miller Lite 250 at The Milwaukee Mile. WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 1, 2002) - Adrian Fernandez ( ...
Fernandez takes second pole of 2002 Cart Fedex Championship Series in qualifying for Miller Lite 250 at The Milwaukee Mile.
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 1, 2002) - Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) claimed the third CART FedEx Championship Series pole of his career and second of the 2002 season after using the second of his two qualifying laps to snare the top spot in qualifying for the Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile.
The 10-year CART veteran put up a fastest lap of 22.176 seconds (167.532mph/269.610km/h) to take the pole on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee, finding nearly a half-second between his first and second qualifying trips around the 1.032-mile oval on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The qualifying effort for Fernandez made him the first driver to win multiple poles in the 2002 season, matching his starting position for the season-opening Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix.
The fast lap by Fernandez pushed Paul Tracy (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) back to the second spot on the starting grid, but Tracy's run would give him his best starting spot in more than a year and first front-row starting spot since he qualified second at Vancouver in the 2000 season.
Tracy is no stranger to qualifying success at Milwaukee, having qualified in the first seven spots on the grid for nine of his 10 Milwaukee starts, a run that included back-to-back poles in 1997 and '98. This is his fourth front-row starting spot at Milwaukee and was earned with a best lap of 22.205 seconds (167.314mph/269.258km/h)
Milwaukee track-record holder Patrick Carpentier (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) earned his best starting spot of the 2002 season by taking the third position in qualifying with a lap of 22.324 seconds (166.422mph/267.823km/h), leading both the Ford and the Reynard contingents on the day.
Carpentier used his backup car to snare the third spot, vaulting into the 32x machine after he crashed his primary machine during Saturday morning's practice sessions. He and his Player's crew weren't sure how strong the backup car would be, but it was good enough to earn a spot in the second row for Sunday's 250-lap event. The qualifying result marked the third time in Carpentier's six Milwaukee starts that he has started in the top three. He will be looking for his first win on the fast Milwaukee track as well as the first for Player's since the late Greg Moore took the checkered flag in 1997.
Scott Dixon (#44 Target/Ganassi Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) marked his first weekend with his new team by qualifying in the fourth spot for Sunday's event, marking his best-ever oval-track starting spot. The New Zealander has three previous second-row starting positions, all of them coming on permanent road courses. Despite his lack of qualifying success on the ovals however, Dixon has been strong on CART's short ovals, with top-fives at Chicago, Milwaukee and a win at Nazareth during his rookie season in 2001.
Dixon's new teammate Bruno Junqueira (#4 Target/Ganassi Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top five, and has qualified in the top seven in each of the first four races of the 2002 season.
The Miller Lite 250 airs live on CBS Television beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage, as well as live Timing & Scoring data will also be available on the official web site of the CART FedEx Championship Series, www.cart.com.
Quotes from the top three finishers in Saturday's qualifying session follow below:
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "In the past I've had good cars here at Milwaukee but always started from the back row. So I expected qualifying to be difficult." (On the first qualifying lap when the car got loose) "That was the first time all week that the car stepped away from me actually. I wasn't as quick as I would have liked to have been in turns one and two. I took a very wide line and kept my foot down. But this is a whole team effort. I'm proud of my team as well as my teammate Shinji (Nakano) who qualified sixth."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We have had a very successful past month with running at Indianapolis and everything. I was surprised what our lap of 22.2 seconds held as long as it did. I guess we just got beat out on the last lap again somehow. But I'm really looking forward to moving up in points and making a run at the championship. We are really shifting to high gear and building momentum. I'm really looking forward to this race tomorrow."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I think our guys were the most surprised with our run today. After crashing our primary car in the morning practice session, I didn't know if we had the car to do it in qualifying. Who would have thought that our time would stand up in the second car? (On being asked when he realized the backup car was fast) "I figured it out really quickly when I looked up at the scoreboard and saw us on top!"
* Shinji Nakano (#52 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) earned his best qualifying spot since last year's Texas event and his second-ever third-row starting position by finishing sixth in today's qualifying.
* Points leader Dario Franchitti (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) will start ninth in Sunday's event as he looks to widen the two-point advantage that he holds in the championship over Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who is start 18th as he looks to maintain his status as the only driver in the series this season to have finished in the top five in each of the first three races.
* Mario Dominguez (#16 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the highest-qualifying rookie in the race as he will attempt to widen his lead in the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year standings. Dominguez will start on the outside of the eighth row after putting up a lap of 22.653 seconds (164.005mph/263.933km/h).