MICHAEL ANDRETTI SECOND-QUICKEST IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE MOTOROLA 220 AT ROAD AMERICA Notes: Michael Andretti was the second-quickest driver in provisional qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road American, lapping the four-mile...
MICHAEL ANDRETTI SECOND-QUICKEST IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE MOTOROLA 220 AT ROAD AMERICA
Michael Andretti was the second-quickest driver in provisional qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road American, lapping the four-mile course in 1:40.401 (145.146 mph). Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran claimed the provisional pole (1:40.392; 145.159 mph) while Dario Franchitti was third fastest (1:40.477; 145.036 mph). Other drivers powered by Ford-Cosworth qualifying in the top 10 included Alex Tagliani (4th), Adrian Fernandez (5th), defending champion Christian Fittipaldi (6th) and Kenny Brack (9th).
Gualter Salles sits out provisional qualifying after crashing during the morning practice. Salles, who is subbing for Takuya Kurosawa in the #19 Sports Today Ford-Cosworth, made heavy contact with the wall coming out of the kink on the back straight and his car was not repaired in time for Friday's session. It is expected that Salles' car will be ready for Saturday morning's practice.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#6 Big Kmart/Texaco-Havoline Ford Cosworth) - 2nd in practice - TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY AND TELL US HOW YOUR CAR FEELS. "The car was pretty good this morning and we never got a new set of tires on, so we were pretty happy with the time. On the first set of tires today we were able to get a quick time in right away, made a quick change to the car and made it a little bit better, but then all the red (flags) started to happen and just messed up the rest of the session for us. We went out behind Adrian Fernandez and he sort of messed up both of my last laps, so I never really got a lap in on my last set of tires, so we feel that there's a bit more to come. I'm sure that a lot of people can say the same thing, but we'll have to see. If we can get two sets of tires in tomorrow without traffic hopefully we can improve on our position."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) -4th in practice - "We had another three tenths in the car, but my good lap was under the black flag. (I was) a little bit disappointed - I was happy that I had done a good lap earlier, but my car is fantastic. We struggled in qualifying earlier in the season, but the team is always working hard and they don't give up." IS IT HARD TO PUT A GOOD LAP TOGETHER? "What happens is that when you make a small mistake, you say, 'this one is not going to be good,' and you want to push a little harder into the next corner. But you can't afford to do that because if you miss that corner it's going to screw up the straightaway, so it's very tough to put every corner together."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP? "Yeah, very happy. The car is good - the team did a great job. We've been struggling in qualifying, but they (the team) never give up - they work very hard, and now we come here and we have a very good car. It's very good for the motivation of all my guys just to be on the top of the list. The engine was running strong and I'm very pleased with whatever we're doing right now."
YOU HELD THE TRACK RECORD IN AN ATLANTIC UNTIL THIS MORNING AND NOW YOU'RE FASTEST IN YOUR GROUP? YOU MUST LIKE THIS TRACK. "Yeah, I like the track. It seems that you always like the track better when you're doing good and that's what we're doing right now."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth) - 6th in practice - ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR RUN? "Yeah, (I'm) reasonably happy. There's a little bit more in the car - we weren't maxed out. We just didn't put the whole lap together at the right time, and when we did I quickest lap I screwed up in Canada Corner - I went in in second gear instead of third, so I lost a little bit there. Then I made another mistake towards the end of the session when I forgot to press the (pit) speed limiter button, so that cost me a little bit. But tomorrow (we're) definitely going to be better and I think we have a pretty good car, not only for qualifying tomorrow, but also for the race."
ROBERTO MORENO (#20 Visteon Ford-Cosworth) - 11th in practice - "The set up this afternoon was quite good in the car. We were not using the brakes very much this morning so we went to smaller scoops and this afternoon. They got too hard and were fading big time, so I had to drive that way and with so many long braking points it's hard to get the most of it (the car). I think we're happy with the lap time we did for the situation, we'll fix that for tomorrow and I think we'll have a good car."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) -17th in practice - NOT THE WAY YOU WANTED TO START YOUR WEEKEND. "No, not at all. It didn't start out good this morning with the brake pedal that broke and we crashed one of the cars. This afternoon the car was just slippery - there was nothing I could do. The front was sliding, the back was sliding around, and it wouldn't turn like I wanted it to, (but) that's what happens when you have a long circuit like this, you lose a lot of time and that's what we did today."
GUALTER SALLES (#19 Sports Today Ford-Cosworth) - DID NOT QUALIFY - "It's pretty disappointing not to be running in this first qualifying (session). I'm hoping the guys can do a wonderful job and get the other car ready for tomorrow."
WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR CRASH THIS MORNING? "It was a wild ride, like the wildest I've ever had. The car wiggled a little bit in the middle of the kink - I was at about 175 miles (per hour). I ran out of track on the exit (and) I rode the curb, but my left rear touched the grass and that made the car spin out. After that I was just hoping that I was going to hit in a safe position. I thank God for the safety of these cars and the safety crew - they're so good and so professional. I'm just very sorry to not be running this afternoon, but hopefully tomorrow we'll be back on the track."