CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Team Kool Green qualifying report

Tracy starting third and Franchitti fifth in CART Bridgestone Potenza 500. MOTEGI, Japan - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti both earned top-five qualifying spots, setting the third and fifth fastest laps respectively in ...

Tracy starting third and Franchitti fifth in CART Bridgestone Potenza 500.

MOTEGI, Japan - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti both earned top-five qualifying spots, setting the third and fifth fastest laps respectively in qualifying for Saturday's Bridgestone Potenza 500 at the 1.548-mile Twin Ring Motegi superspeedway.

Franchitti was the first of the TKG drivers to take to the track in single-car qualifying and turned a fast lap of 212.922 mph (26.173 seconds). Having spent yesterday's practice sessions concentrating on race setup, Franchitti and his engineers had limited time to work on their qualifying setup in this morning's practice, which was shortened by rain and a late caution flag.

Tracy set the fastest time of the weekend in the morning practice session (215.816 mph / 25.822 seconds), and thus was the last to take to the track in qualifying. His fastest qualifying lap was an average speed of 213.853 mph (26.059 seconds) and places him on the inside of row two for tomorrow's 201-lap race.

Bruno Junquiera earned the pole for tomorrow's race with a lap of 215.108 mph (25.907 seconds). Tony Kanaan will line-up outside of Junquiera having turned a fast lap of 213.919 mph (26.051 seconds).

The Champ Car drivers have one more on-track session prior to the race - a 30-minute warmup session scheduled for 9:00 a.m. local time (8:00 p.m. on Friday, Eastern Daylight Time). The 201-lap race is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. on Friday, Eastern Daylight Time).

Television coverage from today's action at Motegi on Friday includes a two-hour Champ Car Qualifying show beginning at 2:00 p.m., plus the half-hour CART Friday Night show at 9:30 p.m. Raceday coverage on Speed Channel beginsc Saturday at 12:00 p.m., with a half-hour pre-race show, followed by full race coverage from 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"Team KOOL Green did a great job to get the new Lola ready for this weekend. This is our first race weekend with it and we've still got a lot to learn. If we can continue the progress that we're making, we should be strong. To start third in our first race with it is pretty good. My first qualifying lap wasn't great, so I didn't get a good start to my second lap. I left a little bit on the table. I just didn't get on the throttle soon enough coming out of Turn Four - that hurt me all the way around the second lap. But I've got no complaints. The car is well-balanced, particularly in race trim, and Honda has given us terrific power this weekend."

Friday Morning Practice
Position: 1st
Speed: 215.816 mph
Time: 25.822 seconds

Friday Qualifying
Position: 3rd
Speed: 213.953 mph
Time: 26.059 seconds

Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Reynard-Bridgestone

"We had to take a bit of a gamble with the setup. We tried something this morning but didn't get a full shot at it due to the rain delay and yellow flag at the end of the session. In hindsight, we should have tweaked the car a bit more. That's the nature of oval-track qualifying. You've got to make an educated guess at how the car will behave based on the conditions you may encounter. When we only got two laps with the setup this morning, I said 'Let's go for it. Let's take a gamble and see what we've got.' The car wasn't perfect, but the Honda engine was awesome. With the gamble we took, Allen (McDonald, race engineer) did a great job figuring out where we were with the setup and it wasn't a bad day's work from Team KOOL Green. We practiced in race trim most of yesterday and we know we've got a good car for tomorrow's race. I'm looking forward to it."

Friday Practice
Position: 11th
Speed: 212.338 mph
Time: 26.245 seconds

Friday Qualifying
Position: 5th
Speed: 212.922 mph
Time: 26.173 seconds

-TKG-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan