PORTLAND, Ore. (June 24, 2000) - Marlboro Team Penske swept the front row for the first time since 1994 as Helio Castroneves captured his first pole of the season and Gil de Ferran earned the outside position during Saturday's qualifying for...
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 24, 2000) - Marlboro Team Penske swept the front row for the first time since 1994 as Helio Castroneves captured his first pole of the season and Gil de Ferran earned the outside position during Saturday's qualifying for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco at Portland International Raceway.
Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), riding the momentum of his first career win last week in Detroit, established a track record with a lap of 122.768 miles per hour (57.738 seconds) on the 1.969-mile permanent road course. He was one of seven drivers to eclipse the previous track record of 121.808 mph (58.193), set by Juan Montoya last season, en route to the second pole of his career. His other came at Milwaukee last season.
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) landed his second outside pole in four seasons at Portland - the other was in 1997 - with a lap of 122.594 mph (57.820). It also was the seventh time in eight starts this season that de Ferran has qualified among the top five. The front-row sweep was the first for Marlboro Team Penske since 1994 at Nazareth when Emerson Fittipaldi won the pole and teammate Paul Tracy started on the outside.
The Marlboro Team Penske duo will lead the 25-car Champ Car field for the start of Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco, which will begin at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. local PT (ESPN2, 7 p.m., tape delayed).
Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing gave Brazil a sweep of the top three starting positions with his lap of 122.262 mph (57.977) in the Visteon Ford Reynard. The start is a season best - topping fourth at Japan - as well as a career best at Portland. His previous best was 11th, established last year.
Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green registered his third consecutive top-four start of the season. Franchitti, who started on the outside pole at Milwaukee and Detroit, respectively, earned the fourth position with a lap of 122.090 mph (58.059) in the KOOL Honda Reynard. Rookie Kenny Brack rounded out the top five with a lap of 122.008 mph (58.098) in the Shell Ford Reynard. It marked his seventh top-seven qualifying performance in eight starts this season.
Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, the FedEx Championship Series points leader, qualified 17th at 119.370 mph (59.382). Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, the defending FedEx Championship Series champion and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner, qualified eighth at 121.593 mph (58.296).
HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "I think everybody saw how happy I was last week. For the whole entire week, it was fantastic. This morning, we worked a little bit on the setup of the car. We had a little trouble with the downshift in Turn One, but other than that I was very happy. We've worked very, very hard to achieve this position and place. It's not like it just fell out of the sky. But let's keep working harder because it's going to be even more difficult tomorrow."
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "I've really been pretty happy since we arrived here. This morning and afternoon, the car was pretty good. It was just a matter of trying to squeeze everything out of it, and obviously, the time shows that we're pretty close. Helio was able to get us, but generally, I'm pretty pleased."
ROBERTO MORENO, Visteon Ford Reynard: "We had a very, very slow start. We came here with some ideas and we played with the car a lot. If you'd have seen us yesterday morning, you would never have thought that we'd have qualified well. We tried some things and kept what was good, and the car started getting better. We took advantage of some things Adrian [Fernandez, Patrick Racing teammate] learned in his car and we put on a second set of tires and went out and did the time."
Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) became the second consecutive driver to follow his first victory of the season with a pole at the ensuing venue. Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing won the race at Milwaukee earlier this month and followed with a pole position at Detroit.
Defending Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) extended an outstanding record of success at Portland International Raceway by qualifying second. He also qualified second in 1997 and owns three podium finishes in five career starts at Portland, including seconds in 1996 and '97 in addition to last year's victory.
Roberto Moreno's (Visteon Ford Reynard) third-place qualifying effort matches a career-best performance on a road or street circuit, equaling third at Detroit in 1997 and at Road America in 1985 and '86.
Rookie Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) qualified fifth at 122.008 mph (58.098 seconds), and has now qualified among the top seven drivers at seven of eight events this season, topped by an outside pole at Japan.
Rookie Oriol Servia (Telefonica Toyota Reynard) recorded a career best qualifying effort of seventh, at 121.871 mph (58.163 seconds). His previous best was 12th at Detroit last week.
Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Mercedes Reynard) was disqualified from his 14th qualifying position during post-qualifying technical inspection for failure to maintain the required two inches of clearance at the chassis reference plane.
CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2 while ESPN2's tape-delayed broadcast of the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco airs 7 p.m. ET.