PORTLAND, OR . . . Max Papis capped an amazing weekend turnaround by winning the pole position for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 (4:00 PM EDT on ESPN) at Portland International Raceway. Papis began the weekend in frustrating fashion by ...
PORTLAND, OR . . . Max Papis capped an amazing weekend turnaround by winning the pole position for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 (4:00 PM EDT on ESPN) at Portland International Raceway. Papis began the weekend in frustrating fashion by finishing last in the opening practice session, but the Miller Lite team found a competitive set-up and rallied to come within five-hundredths of a second in qualifying of the track record set by Helio Castroneves last season.
CART points leader Kenny Brack endured a frustrating qualifying session when he lost precious track time to engine trouble and the ensuing eight minute penalty when his car forced a stoppage in the qualifying session. Brack was forced to switch to his back-up car and will start 22nd on Sunday after turning a fast lap of 120.635 mph in the closing moments of qualifying.
Papis' pole is the fourth of the season for Team Rahal, tying the team mark set in 1992 when Bobby Rahal captured four poles en route to winning the CART Championship. Shell driver Kenny Brack has captured the other three pole positions (Mexico, Texas, Milwaukee) for the team this season. The pole is the second of Papis' career and his first since capturing the pole for the Chicago Grand Prix in August of 1999.
Max Papis (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Lola) - "I am the same guy that was 24th in qualifying at Detroit. My goal today was just to win the first (qualifying) session and then stay in the Top 10 when qualifying ended. Sure, we had a tough day on Friday. The car was just not right on Friday morning but my Miller crew made some excellent changes with the suspension and we just kept improving. I just never give up in this sport. The car just kept getting better and better with each run. We have a lot of new people with our Miller team. We have been learning with each other and this weekend proved that we can making it work if we try hard enough. I feel good about the race because we only put one lap on my last set of tires. The other guys were trying hard at the end and they have more time on their tires. This is very special since our recent races have not been that good. But I am the same person on and off the track. I just keep working hard. I talked to Bobby (Rahal from Germany at the European F-1 Grand Prix) and he told how proud he was of me and our Miller team. That makes me feel good."
Kenny Brack (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola) - "Needless to say, it is very disappointing day. It was a disappointing beginning in the qualifying session. But that's life. I don't know what the problem was initially but the engine didn't run properly. I came into the pits and our Shell crew changed the pop-off valve (to the turbocharger). I went back out and the engine wouldn't run again. It was something inside the engine. I was trying to make it back to the pits to change to the backup car but the car just stopped. We received an eight-minute penalty (for causing the red flag). And I went out with four minutes remaining in the backup car. I think I got four laps in before the checkered flag. We just have to get a new strategy together for Sunday. I know our guys have several different strategies to use now. This race is usually a fuel strategy race. So I hope that can work in our favor."