MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 12, 2000) -- Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy will be looking to work their way through the field in tomorrow's Firestone Firehawk 500 at the 1.549-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi. Team KOOL Green's drivers struggled in...
MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 12, 2000) -- Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy will be looking to work their way through the field in tomorrow's Firestone Firehawk 500 at the 1.549-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi. Team KOOL Green's drivers struggled in qualifying, as Franchitti will start from 17th on the grid and Tracy from the 20th spot.
Juan Montoya will start from the pole for the ninth time in his career after posting a time of 26.237 seconds, averaging 212.540 mph. Montoya finally caught up to Kenny Brack, who had been at the top of the timesheets for much of the weekend. Brack experienced difficulties in his first qualifying run and was forced to his backup car. With just under two minutes left in the session, he earned a spot on the front row with a time of 26.393 seconds (211.263 mph). Third fastest today was Montoya's teammate Jimmy Vasser, whose qualifying time was 26.455 seconds (210.788 mph).
Franchitti's qualfying run was a lap of 26.910 seconds (207.224 mph), while Tracy lapped the egg-shaped oval in 26.982 seconds (206.671 mph).
The 25-car field has one more opportunity to work on set-ups in tomorrow morning's warm-up at 9 a.m. before the 201-lap race at 12 noon Japan Time. With the time difference (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time), the race will be run at 11:00 p.m. ET on Friday and telecast on ABC-TV via tape-delay on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(20th with a lap-time of 26.982 seconds / 206.671 mph)
"It doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish. Of course it's not ideal to be starting towards the back of the grid, but we're not giving up. That's not what Team KOOL Green is all about. We came from a long way back (17th) at Long Beach to win and we ended up on the podium at Homestead (Started 17th / Finished 3rd). It has been hit or miss for us in qualifying this year. We qualified well on the ovals in Nazareth (4th) and Brazil (3rd), but missed at Homestead and here.
"The car is very inconsistent. The car was loose in the morning practice and then when we qualify in the afternoon it's pushing. On my qualifying run, the car was loose on cold tires and then it went to a big push once the tires got some heat in them."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(17th with a lap-time of 26.910 seconds / 207.224 mph)
"I'm really very happy with the chassis. We were restricted in running this morning (due to a gearbox problem), but my KOOL engineers Steve (Challis) and Tino (Belli) came up with a great setup. But we made a small mistake with the gearing and it cost us on straight-line speed."