PORTLAND, Ore. (June 23, 2000) - Defending champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske continued to display his mastery of Portland International Raceway Friday when he captured the provisional pole for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 ...
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 23, 2000) - Defending champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske continued to display his mastery of Portland International Raceway Friday when he captured the provisional pole for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco (7 p.m. ET Sunday, tape delay, ESPN2).
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), owner of two poles already this season, recorded a lap of 120.991 miles per hour (58.586 seconds) during the first of two sessions on the 1.969-mile permanent road course. The second session is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET Saturday, after which the grid will be set for Sunday's 112-lap, 220.53-mile event, the eighth of 20 rounds in the FedEx Championship Series.
De Ferran's previous poles this season have come at Homestead and Long Beach. He also owns a race victory at Nazareth last month, the 100th in the storied history of Penske Racing. His best start at Portland, where he owns three podium finishes in five career starts, is second in 1997.
Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing qualified second on the provisional grid at 120.524 mph (58.813 seconds). He seeks a season-best start Saturday, improving on second at Nazareth.
Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) of the Player's Forsythe Racing Team qualified third at 120.157 mph (58.993 seconds). Like Fittipaldi, he is chasing a season-best start, improving on third at Milwaukee.
Rounding out the top five were Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing, fourth at 120.059 mph (59.041 seconds) and Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, fifth at 119.933 mph (59.103 seconds).
FedEx Championship Series points leader Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green was 15th at 117.080 mph (1:00.543). Defending FedEx Championship Series and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing was seventh at 119.795 mph (59.171 seconds).
Montoya has started on the pole at each of the past four FedEx Championship Series events, at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "It was quite a good day today. We were quite happy with the car from the time we unloaded it, and we worked on making the balance better, even with old tires. The track was not in good condition this afternoon, but it kept improving as the session went on. We put a second set of tires on and concentrated on squeezing everything we could out of it. It's important not to get overconfident. I think if we want to maintain our position, we have to concentrate on improving a bit more tomorrow."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Reynard: "My day was really good. We didn't have any big problems. We had a small engine problem this morning, so we swapped engines and it worked out OK. The track was tough, but it was the same for everyone. Tomorrow will be much tougher than today, but I think we have a good shot at it."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard: "It was a very good day. I think it was the first Friday this season where we finished in the top three. The team did a good job. The car was a bit loose this morning and I know that the track was a bit more slippery this afternoon, but for me the car was a bit more stable. So we're very happy and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske has qualified among the top-five drivers at six of seven FedEx Championship Series events to date. Included are poles at Homestead and Long Beach, fourth-place starts at Milwaukee and Detroit and fifth-place results at Japan and Nazareth, site of his third career victory.
* De Ferran, the defending Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco champion, also owns podium finishes of second at Portland International Raceway in 1996 and '97.
* Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) will be seeking the second pole of his career, and his first on a road course, during final qualifying Saturday. He earned his first at Rio de Janeiro last year.
* Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), who qualified third, will be seeking a career-best start on a road or street course, topping sixth at Cleveland last year.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Qualifying for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's Presented by Texaco will air 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.