King Max not ready to abdicate at Laguna Seca just yet. MONTEREY, Calif. - Reigning Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey winner Max Papis will get the chance to successfully defend his Laguna Seca championship Sunday as he qualified for the race...
King Max not ready to abdicate at Laguna Seca just yet.
MONTEREY, Calif. - Reigning Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey winner Max Papis will get the chance to successfully defend his Laguna Seca championship Sunday as he qualified for the race this afternoon.
Papis improved on Friday's provisional qualifying time as he took his #22 Lola-Ford/Cosworth to a quick time of 70.681 seconds, for an average speed of 113.988 mph. Although he qualified 17th for the third straight race this season, Papis is not ready to give up his crown without a fight as he won last year's race from 25th position and in the process set a CART FedEx Championship Series record by coming from the furthest starting position for a race winner on a street or road course in series history.
After qualifying, Kenny Brack, came over to Papis in the Sigma Autosport pits and shook hands with Papis saying he wanted "some of his (Papis') luck to rub off on him for the race."
On Friday, it was announced that Sunoco signed on with Sigma Autosport as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season.
In addition, Sigma Autosport was named as the winner of the "Motorola Call of the Race Award" from last week's Miller Lite 250 in West Allis, Wis. The "Motorola Call of the Race Award" is determined by a panel of three judges based on key decision resulting in the team's improvement from the race. Sigma Autosport chief engineer David Watson will accept a check for $3,000 on behalf of Sigma.
The award is judged each race by motorsports journalists Robin Miller, Jeremy Shaw, and one local media representative.
Sunday's race will be shown on SPEED Channel starting at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
"I really think we did a pretty good job even though our qualifying position is not where I wanted to be. We have to understand what it is that's necessary to pick up that little extra to put us in the top ten. It seems as though we have a target that we really can't overcome, which for the moment is seventeenth position. We have worked really hard on the setup and I was pleased this morning and we had a pretty good car as well. During qualifying I was blocked a little bit by (Adrian) Fernandez on my last lap, that would have been a couple of tenths quicker, but not enough to challenge the guys at the front. For a one car team with only one car and no spares, and an engine that we used in Milwaukee last week, I think that's pretty good." - Max Papis, Sigma Autosport Driver