Tracy and Carpentier to start 3rd and 4th on Milwaukee grid as soggy track turns lights out on first night qualifying session Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 30, 2003 Rain forced the cancellation of the first night qualifying session in the history...
Tracy and Carpentier to start 3rd and 4th on Milwaukee grid as soggy track turns lights out on first night qualifying session
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 30, 2003 Rain forced the cancellation of the first night qualifying session in the history of the Champ Car World Series on Friday and left Team Player's drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier side by side on Row 2 of the starting grid for Saturday evening's 250-lap race on the venerable Milwaukee Mile oval.
The big winner of the foul weather conditions was fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani, who wound up winning the pole the fourth of his career when combined results of the three practice sessions prior to qualifying were used to set the starting grid. Tagliani had been eighth fastest in Thursday night practice, but his time of 20.882 seconds (177.914 mph / 286.324 km/h) on Friday afternoon gave him the pole, although he was not awarded the standard one point for a pole victory because there was no qualifying session.
"At least he didn't beat my track record here," said Carpentier jokingly, referring to the 20.028 seconds he clocked in qualifying around the 1.032-mile track in 1998. Carpentier's fast lap of 21.208 seconds on Friday afternoon was a shade off the 21.146 seconds on Thursday night, a time that earned him the fourth spot on the grid. "Seriously, we would have been happier on the front row, but we're pleased with what Team Player's has done with the car over the course of the weekend."
Tracy, who is third on the grid, and Mexico's Michel Jourdain, on the front row beside Tagliani, both produced their fastest laps in the Thursday night qualifying session 21.040 by Jourdain and 21.075 by Tracy.
"It's disappointing not to be able to run in the qualifying session because I'm sure it would have been a great show for the fans seeing the cars zip around the track under the lights," remarked Tracy. "It would have been fun to have a chance to go for the pole and get an extra point, but third on the starting grid is plenty good enough. I'm looking forward to racing on this track at night. I've always run a higher line here than most people. I learned that from Rick Mears. If you're going to pass someone, he's going to protect the inside, so you've got to do it from the outside."
The weather forecast for Saturday night is favourable, although temperatures are expected to be cool, and that might make it more difficult to get the tires up to speed. Carpentier, for one, isn't concerned by this possibility.
"Even if it gets colder for the race, we'll be able to adjust the tire pressure and the aero balance on the car to make it more stable," he said. "During the last practice run today, we did some testing and Team Player's made some changes to the car so that we can run high or low on the track. We have a car that should perform really well on this track."