Tony Kanaan drove the ...
Tony Kanaan drove the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start Sunday's 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season-opening Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey from the inside of the seventh row after rain this afternoon washed out any chance of improving on Friday's provisional qualifying times.
Just five cars (Michael Andretti and Sunday's polesitter, Adrian Fernandez, Shinji Nakano, Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani) recorded lap times on the rain-soaked 2.1-mile temporary road course around Monterrey's Fundidora Park, well off the pace set during dry provisional qualifying on Friday. Kanaan's lap Friday of 1 minute, 19.985 seconds (94.698 mph) was 13th overall among the 20 cars entered here this weekend. Fernandez, a local favorite, earned the pole in 1:18.929 (95.965 mph), followed in the order by Dario Franchitti (1:19.202/95.634) and Tagliani (1:19.241/95.587).
The full field took to the track for practice in dry conditions this morning and lap times dropped considerably compared to Friday's qualifying times. Cristiano da Matta, last year's race winner here, clocked a best lap of 1:16.486 (99.030 mph), followed by Jimmy Vasser (1:16.504/99.007) and Oriol Servia (1:16.646/98.823). Kanaan, hampered by traffic all session long, turned in a best lap of 1:17.762 (97.405 mph) this morning, good for 18th overall.
Sunday morning's 30-minute warm-up session begins at 11 a.m. CST (noon EDT). Race time is 3 p.m CST (4 p.m. EST) with a live broadcast set for Speed Channel. A 30-minute pre-race show will also air Sunday beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST on Speed Channel. Coverage of today's action will be shown on Speed Channel this evening at 8 p.m. EST
"Obviously, we're disappointed that we couldn't have a chance to improve on where we ended up yesterday. But Mother Nature is about the only thing you have no control over at the races, and it's basically the same for everybody, so we can't complain. We're starting from about the same position as we started here last year (12th). Hopefully, the track has matured enough to allow for some more passing than we had last year and we'll be able to finish way better than seventh. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the race with the new pit stop rules (competitors must stop by Lap 27 and then no sooner than every 27 laps thereafter), so that strategy of stopping on all the yellows that all the cars who started in the back used until last year goes out the window. We've got a solid race car, I think, so let's go to it."