Pkv Rookie Qualifies a Career-Best 11th; Teammates Grid Nose-to-Tail for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland PORTLAND, Ore. (June 19, 2004) -- After leading the morning practice session in style with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (...
Pkv Rookie Qualifies a Career-Best 11th; Teammates Grid Nose-to-Tail for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 19, 2004) -- After leading the morning practice session in style with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) on top of the speed charts followed by teammate Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone) in second, PKV Racing had high expectations for today's second round of qualifying but had to settle for ninth and 11th, respectively, for Sunday's 94-lap Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland.
Portland fan favorite Vasser was the fifth car to leave Pit Lane for the scheduled 35-minute qualifier, and ran 10 of the allotted 15 laps with a fast time of 59.922 seconds (118.294 mph) around the 1.969-mile Pacific Northwest circuit to place ninth.
"We wish we could have been faster, but as the track temperature heats up throughout the afternoon, the cars seem to go off and we couldn't run as fast as we did in the morning session," said Vasser. "We didn't go out after the Red Flag [brought out by Paul Tracy] because of the time and tire situation, so we'll have to make the best out of this tomorrow."
The California native is scheduled to start his 208th career Champ Car race tomorrow, which would pull him alongside Mario Andretti for fifth on the all-time starts list. Vasser's career best Portland finish of second came in 1995 after gridding on the outside of row one.
Vasser's rookie teammate Gonzalez earned a career-best starting sport of 11th this afternoon, but the Monterrey, Mexico native knew there was more in the car as traffic turned the session into a qualifying quandary.
"The car was better than it was this morning actually," said Gonzalez. "We went quicker overall but I expected to improve more than that. Unfortunately, I was stuck in traffic and kept getting blocked every time I was on my flying lap. If not for the traffic, I think we could have broken through the next group of five cars that were just ahead of us on the speed chart."
Vasser and Gonzalez will start nose-to-tail on the inside of rows five and six in their familiar #12 and #21 PKV Racing Lolas for tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at 1:00 pm PT, Round 4 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.